From Classroom to Parliament: A Grade 6 SEP Journey of Impact and Empowerment

In the bustling halls of St. Gregory School, Ms. Goslin’s Grade 6 class embarked on a journey that led them to unexpected heights – the top echelons of the Canadian Government. As the educator leading the Social Entrepreneurs Program (SEP) for the second consecutive year, Ms. Goslin witnessed firsthand the transformative power of hands-on learning and community engagement.

With a narrowed focus on Sustainable Goal #2 – No Hunger, the students immersed themselves in social entrepreneurship with passion and purpose. Teaming up with the Ottawa Food Bank, their venture, EveryBiteCounts.myshopify.com, took shape by creating over 250 handmade cards, earrings, and customized keychains. They even partnered with a local artisan for 100% natural handmade soaps and the Hallmark store at Carlingwood, showcasing their dedication to making a difference.

Under the mentorship of Jeremy McQuigge, the students explored every aspect of entrepreneurship – from conceptualization to branding, research and development, marketing, finance, and networking. But the pinnacle of their journey came in January when they set their sights on a daring mission – inviting MP Anita Vandenbeld into the classroom to share their Deep Learning journey. Crafting compelling elevator pitches loaded with staggering statistics on food insecurity, the students captured MP Vandenbeld’s attention and welcomed her to St. Gregory on the 20th of February, 2024.

The students were abuzz with excitement as MP Vandenbeld stepped into their class, eager to witness the magic of social enterprise in action. From assembling products to heartfelt conversations, her visit validated the impact of the Social Entrepreneurs Program, affirming the depth of learning and the strength of partnerships. But more than the products, she engaged in heartfelt conversations with the students, delving into the issues close to their hearts and empowering them to believe in their ability to effect change, no matter their age.

The excitement continued to build as the students seized the opportunity to amplify their voices beyond the classroom walls.

With MP Vadenbeld’s connection to Parliament in mind, they took a bold step and custom-designed a keychain and a handmade card for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The oversized keychain symbolized their belief that he holds the keys to Canada’s future. The student’s initiative impressed the Member of Parliament, and she eagerly joined in as they captured the moment with a photo. “I will show Justin this photo when I deliver his gift to him,” she promised, “and send you back a photo of the moment he receives it.” True to her word, she delivered the gift to the Prime Minister, sharing with him the incredible work happening in our classroom.

Additionally, her encouragement resonated deeply with the students, inspiring them to dream bigger and strive harder to pursue social impact. Her words served as a reminder that age is no barrier to making a difference in our communities. As they continue their SEP journey, they carry MP Vandenbeld’s words, fueling their passion and commitment to creating a world where every bite truly does matter!

These students developed their entrepreneurial skills and acquired global competencies beyond their grade level through the Social Entrepreneurs Project (SEP). Ms. Goslin is immensely proud of each student and looks forward to the adventures ahead in the coming months. This journey has shown the power of student voice, and as an educator, Ms. Goslin is excited to see where it takes her students next. The unexpected journey of SEP has surpassed all expectations, mainly due to the unwavering support of their mentor, Mr. McQuiggey.

The students truly valued his guidance and encouragement as they began this journey. Ms. Goslin fondly reflects on this project and is reminded of the incredible power of education to inspire young minds, instill empathy, and drive meaningful change. Together, her students have shown that our youth’s voices can encourage transformative progress even within powerful institutions. She urges everyone to continue advocating for social enterprise projects, one step at a time, and to keep spreading the word about their impact!

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