The Inner City District is home to two out of the three country’s poorest postal codes. One out of three students drops out of school before Grade 9. In this neighbourhood, children face poverty, some are apprehended by Manitoba’s Child and Family Services, some experience violence in the home and lack of past successful school experiences.
However, the children at Norquay – with a population of 220 and a faculty of 45 – show a deep love of learning, of interacting with their fellow classmates and respecting one another. The school works together with the community, parents and guardians to create a safe and respectable learning environment that meets the various needs of every one of their students. During the day, AY’s office was split into two teams – AM and PM. Those two teams were also then divided into either arts or sports. The ‘art’ team went into various classes and with a pre-cut puzzle piece, asked the children to draw what their idea of “Giving” would be. Their visual answers were very heart warming and touching – and some show some very promising artistic ability! The pieces were put together as a mural on the walls throughout the school. The ‘sports’ team went into the gym with the children to play soccer – a much anticipated event as the children ran around smiling and having a great time with their fellow students as well as our AY team.
Mid-afternoon, the whole school was gathered into the gym for a surprise treat. AY purchased popsicles and handed it out to everyone which was quite well received!
Avison Young’s genuine enthusiasm really brought out children out of their shell and gave them and the teachers an enjoyable and memorable day. At the end of the day, one of the teachers asked her students what they wanted to be when they grow up and one of the answers was “Subway sandwich maker.” We hope that through the positive role models of the teachers and with people giving back to this community, that these children can realize that they are worth and deserving of so much more in life and they can achieve anything they want to become.