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Students Change the World 1 Day At a Time

So you want to change the world? Read this inspiring story and find out how a classroom in Vancouver started to do this just one give, one day at a time. Pauline Johnson School in West Vancouver was the first to join the 365give Challenge as a pilot program. Their 10 weeks of giving is now complete and the results have been remarkable. You will read in this guest post by Lindsay Storry, grade 2 teacher, how one class can create social good in just 5 days.

If you ever wondered if a child at the age of 8 could create change in the world your answer is in this story. 

“Part of what I have enjoyed most about being a part of this great project has been the enthusiasm of the students as they work so well together to accomplish our class goals. Although our Gives have always aimed to benefit other people, animals, or the environment, the benefits that we have gained in return are, in my opinion, immeasurable! Hopefully these experiences will translate into lifelong giving, in some capacity or another, for the students.  In the meantime the students are keen to do more and were quick to point out that we still have another  3 months left in Grade 2 that could be put to good use as far as giving.  So while the 365Give Challenge has officially come to a close, it sounds like the students are keen to keep going.  And having witnessed all of their passion, enthusiasm, excitement, and teamwork, I won’t be the one to stand in their way of changing the world, one give at a time!”


Day 1 – Animal Awareness Video

We had some great discussions around endangered animals and the fair and equitable treatment of animals which acted as a spring board for our first Give.  The students had wanted to build animal awareness in the school community and beyond by creating a video.  I have given the students creative license to make this video as they see fit, with only a few guidelines: the students will work cooperatively in a group of their choosing, and they must create a video that has an educational message.  However they choose to go about relaying their message is up to them! Today we spent time planning things out in our groups, as well as working on the computers to create some props. We have some groups who will be acting out their message, and others who will take a journalist approach, but all the students have been highly engaged and working well together.

Day 2 – Clean up at Dundarave

On this gorgeous sunny day, we set out on a lovely walk through the community on our way down to Dundarave Beach to do our clean-up.  Mr. Hugh Hamilton, an experienced and knowledgeable volunteer with the local Stream Keepers organization, met us there and  taught us all so much about how valuable and important this work is to the local environment.  We learned that the beach must be clean in order for the smelt to lay their eggs, and the ocean must be clean so that the fry have a comfortable environment to hide in while they prepare to swim out to sea. The students had a fabulous time exploring along the sea shore and discovering as many interesting creatures as they did garbage!  The students were highly engaged and had so much fun – it was tough to tear them away at the end of the day! It is clear that on a day like this, there is no better classroom than the great outdoors!

Day 3 – Low-Impact Day

The students decided that they wanted to do another give for the environment, but this time they chose a different format.  The students chose a low-impact day at school whereby we do our best not to use any electricity, which includes all electronic devices.  With the sun shining, the classroom was still well lit, and the students barely noticed that the lights were not on.  However, we quickly discovered that our regular classroom routine was slightly interrupted with a lack of electricity, and thus no internet connection.  When doing the calendar routine in the morning, we had to go outside to check a thermometer in order to know the temperature.  When students asked me the translation of a particular word in French, we had to use a dictionary to do our search, rather than an iPad.  And some of our favourite activities like dance breaks weren’t possible at all!

At the end of the day we discussed how the students felt about being “unplugged”.  Most found it quite easy with very little adjustment, while others lamented the fact that there was no music or use of technology.  Truthfully, I think that I was the one who had the hardest time being un-plugged all day! It was a good lesson for us all!

Day 4 – Saying “Thanks” to the firefighters

 As soon as the bell rang we headed off on a walk to our local West Vancouver fire hall. We met Firefighter Dan who greeted us and invited us in. He introduced us to Firefighter Jeff who was busy sweeping and explained that each day they have various chores to do in order to keep the hall in tip top shape, just like the firefighters.  And then all of the sudden the alarm went and he jumped into action, putting his gear on, and running out to the fire truck – they were off to an emergency! Luckily, Marcia, was available to chat with us about fire safety…all in French! When it was time to leave we presented the Chief with our three bags of freshly baked cookies and thanked him for the service of his fire department.  He promised to relay our message to the firemen who had been called out on an emergency, and to share the cookies too! Just as we were saying our goodbyes, Firefighter Dan came back in time for us to present him with the cookies! He seemed quite pleased, and the kids were excited too as they walked away with tattoos and key chains.

Day 5 – Sale: Popcorn and school supplies

The students have been gearing up all week for this sale and many had been predicting that this would be their favourite Give of all!  We already had a bag full of school supplies to put out, and a couple bags of popcorn.  The morning was spent in groups preparing for the sale as we needed to decide on prices and mark each item accordingly.  We needed to make signs that advertise the items for sale, as well as where to line up to make your purchases. The morning flew by and the students were a flurry of cooperative activity – it was truly great to see! The students quickly learned that there’s a lot of math that goes into running a store. Albeit short, the small recess was our most successful as we raised $152 in 15 minutes! We raised another $30 at lunch (there really wasn’t much left to sell!).  One of the students in the class also donated his birthday money to the cause, so we managed to raise a grand total of $252 for Change Heroes!!!

It just goes to show that an enthusiastic bunch of Grade 2 students can make anything happen!


A very special thank you to Lindsay Storry and her class for making such a positive impact on the world. Your week of giving was truly inspiring.

If you would like your school to join The 365give Challenge for the Fall 2014 please contact us and let us help your students

change the world one day at a time. 



What people are saying about 365give

“I wanted to express my gratitude for the teaching you provided today. Your message was delivered eloquently, compassionately, and without judgment. The kids were engaged, and now have knowledge with which they can change the world. We all appreciated how you took the time to help us learn to build positive mindsets and practice happiness.”
Shelley Gardner, Grade 6 Ridgeview Elementary (West Vancouver)
“Actions really do speak louder than words, which is why I believe the 365give Challenge has resonated throughout my community. Every give we do is so important to us and leaves us happier and appreciating our lives a little bit more than before.”
Mahina Niyozova (Tajikistan)
“After watching the 365give TEDx Talk, I was inspired to join and begin a daily giving program in India. Today, along with 12 other volunteer women, we provide 100 meals to local underprivileged children in Bangalore for school every day.”
Deepika Ahuja, Mom (Bangalore, India)
“My life has greater meaning now.”
Renate Jorge, @BeKindBrazil and 365give Member, Family Program (Brazil)
“I just wanted to share that 365give really helped me. I am a better person now, thank you.”
MayLee, 365give Member, Individual Program
“This 365give Challenge has really injected excitement and extra enthusiasm in each work day as I think about what we can do. It has motivated me and the students.”
Cristina Peters, School Counselor (New York City, USA)
“I have seen a huge shift in energy throughout my classroom since doing the 365give Challenge. The Challenge has empowered my students to make a positive difference in the school’s community and beyond.”
Cella Adriana, Special Needs Educator /The Holliswood School (New York City, USA)
“The 365give Challenge helps students understand their impact on others. It opens avenues for introducing and discussing global and local issues in classrooms. It is powerful to watch students of all ages think about how they can make a change in another person’s life with one small act.”
Jessica Hall, Primary Teacher, French Immersion at École Pauline Johnson (West Vancouver, Canada)