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Supporting Young Changemakers

Middle school receives Youth Justice Grant.

The students at Unity Christian School in Chilliwack, B.C. are committed to being good stewards of God’s creation. Four years ago, the Grade 7 class began an educational journey considering ways in which they could actively participate in providing solutions to the problem of waste. Many considerations were given to problems they saw, both globally and locally. Pretty soon they realized that in order to tackle this issue, they needed to start with their own school.

“Students saw the need to change the way Unity dealt with their garbage,” Julia, a former student, shared. “There were no bins to sort our waste; this gave us no choice but to toss our compost and recycling into the garbage.” 

The class started small by collecting garbage, recycling and compost in the middle school area. After that, Unity School saw their compost collection increase, as the following year both the Elementary and High School divisions joined in. Students who once collected compost in middle school were now collecting the compost in high school. 

The Grade 7 class continued their mission to be good earthkeepers by coming up with several ideas to help educate other students about where to put their waste, and also by adding new bins outside to make it more accessible to students who ate outdoors.  

All of these changes have now become a collaborative, school-wide effort. Each year, Grade 5 students collect refundable bottles, keeping these out of the landfill. 

“I think that the changes that we have made are greatly important,” Miles, a Grade 8 student, said. “God tells us in the Bible to take care of the creation that He has made for us. It is important for us to carry out the work that God has given to us.” 

One way the students at Unity were able to accomplish many of their creation care activities was through a grant from the Youth Justice Project (YJP), an initiative of the NewGround Program of Diaconal Ministries Canada. They also received funding from the City of Chilliwack. 

“Applying to the YJP provides young people with coaching, relational support and encouragement as they put their ideas for making a difference into action,” explains Rachel Vroege, Diaconal Ministries’ Regional Ministry Developer. “Through this process of learning about injustice and being nurtured into responding through their faith community, young people can be encouraged to be incredible changemakers!”

Nathan Boersma, Vice Principal of Unity, shared his appreciation for the partnership in a recent email. He specifically thanked Rachel, “for approaching us and encouraging our school in this direction!”

“The changes that we have made have been very important because we are helping the environment and keeping it clean,” one student shared.  

For more information on NewGround and/or the Youth Justice Project, visit diaconalministries.com/newground or call (800) 730-3490 x4304.

This article was made possible through a partnership with CRC Ministries within Canada.

  • Communications Coordinator for Diaconal Ministries Canada

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