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Helping the Homeless
Hannah Taylor is a child whose dedication to helping the homeless is increasingly creating awareness for their plight and raising funds for their needs around the world.
When Hannah was 5, she saw a man eating out of a garbage can on a frozen winter day. Hannah was very sad, and for a long time thought about that man and worried where he was and what he would be eating. She talked about homelessness a lot. “Why, why, why?” she asked. “If everyone shared what they had, could that cure homelessness?”
By age 8, Hannah had founded The Ladybug Foundation and become the innocent face of the homeless, seeing their plight with the love and clarity of a child, speaking to politicians, business leaders, students, the media and thousands of others to raise awareness of their needs and funds to help feed and shelter them.
Her message is rich with love, respect, and value for her “lost and forgotten homeless”: “We all have sooo much—we just need to share a little of what we have and care about each other always!”
Her vision is pure and uncomplicated: “No one should have to eat out of a garbage can. Everyone should have a home.”
Her course of action is clear: “We all need to work together forever to help our homeless people.”
Now 12, Hannah has been recognized across Canada and the United States for her remarkable efforts. She has begun to take her message around the world, and expand her experience as a human rights activist.
A Message from Hannah
Hi, it’s Hannah. My hope is that through makeChange: The Ladybug Foundation Education Program, every child will have the chances I have had. You see, I am just regular, but because I have learned that when you see a problem you can learn about it, and then with the help of others and if you work real hard, even if you are little you can make change in our world for the better. And I want everyone to know about that and to have the chance to make change.
From my heart to your hearts, and from your hearts to theirs,
Hugs and Ladybugs, Hannah.
The Ladybug Foundation Inc.
Founded by Hannah in 2004, The Ladybug Foundation Inc. is a non-profit registered charitable foundation which supports Hannah’s efforts to raise awareness and funds to support charitable organizations that provide food, shelter and other needs of the homeless and near homeless in Canada. Funds raised by The Ladybug Foundation are used to support projects in Canada that “touch a homeless person in the next 24 hours.”
The Ladybug Foundation Education Program Inc.
The Ladybug Foundation Education Program Inc., a non-profit registered charitable organization, was founded by Hannah in 2006 as a sister charity funded separately from The Ladybug Foundation, specifically for the purpose of developing and implementing makeChange: The Ladybug Foundation Education Program
makeChange is a K-12 resource for teachers to use in their classrooms to empower young people to get involved and make change in their community, in their city, in their country and in their world. The program is derived from the experience and example of Hannah and The Ladybug Foundation Inc. It brings to life Hannah’s simple and inspiring message of caring, sharing and empowerment to students across Canada.
The program aligns with existing Canadian curricula and includes user-friendly, progressively age-appropriate content, lesson plans, suggestions, outcomes and actions, enhanced by effective multimedia resources, teacher support and feedback. It can be taught as a unit or as a topic unfolding across the school year. The program includes tools for each year to lead students and teachers to classroom, group or individual actions to get involved and make change.
The program increases awareness, knowledge and understanding of homelessness and related hunger and poverty issues, encouraging responsibility for and leadership towards community actions initiated by students to address these difficult social challenges. It follows the “inquiry process” leading to social action and teaches that students, even at their young ages, can make a difference—and carry that understanding into their adult lives.
The Program’s goals for students include:
• Developing self-esteem as a product of responsible, caring behaviour;
• Respecting the rights and needs of others;
• Maximizing use of time and talents for benefit of others;
• Working cooperatively towards a social goal;
• Developing decision-making and problem-solving skills.
The program’s outcomes are designed to dovetail with the philosophy and principles of The Ladybug Foundation, to enhance areas of the curriculum dealing with social responsibility, citizenship, global interdependence and the development of anti-bias outlook on life:
• Caring, Sharing, Giving;
• Respect, Tolerance, Empathy;
• Treating each other like family;
• Social Responsibility;
• Global Citizenship;
These values are building blocks to developing good citizens and form the basis for the “Ladybug Understandings” that are integrated into the program.
A Message from the Program’s Teacher Development Team
Our purpose is to assist educators in exploring teaching and learning that often reaches beyond the standard curricular goals, touching the hearts, minds and lives of students in far-reaching ways. Understanding that some goals cannot be fully measured during our time as educators, it is the hope of The Ladybug Foundation that through the work of this Program we will plant seeds of integrity, respect, compassion, empathy and social responsibility, to be carried by students into adulthood. We will work together as collaborators in creation, knowing that people and society will reap a multiple return on our investment from the future actions of our student.
The makeChange Program
makeChange replicates for the classroom the course of Hannah’s experience in:
Seeing and Engaging (“Activating” – Hannah saw and was captivated by a tattered man eating out of a garbage can on a cold winter day, which made her worry and wonder about him.)
We want to have students “see” the problem, and become concerned, curious and caring about it. For each grade, the program begins with a different video vignette, which includes the music video for the original song “Make Change,” and which introduces a powerful age-appropriate homelessness/hunger /poverty poster image to captivate and engage students. This takes the place of “seeing the man eating out of the garbage can.” This image is captured in a poster to be posted in the classroom for the duration of the program, as a continual reminder to enhance the activating process. “Seeing and engaging” is also supported by specific and intentional activities written into the program and by additional video content and (for appropriate grade levels) moving letters and narratives telling true stories from the street.
Inquiring and Investigating (“Acquiring” – Hannah asked questions about that man and homelessness for almost a year.)
Having become “concerned, curious and caring” about homelessness and hunger, we want to have students ask questions and learn about it. Through specific activities and video content, the program leads students to information about homelessness and hunger, which may be new, may confirm prior knowledge or may help to recognize misconceptions. The program is deliberately crafted to dovetail its “acquiring” activities with existing Canadian social studies, health, science, health or language arts curricular outcomes, to enhance the curriculum without creating an “add-on.”
Empowerment (“Empower” – it was suggested to Hannah that “sometimes when you do something about a problem, your heart won’t feel so sad.”)
Having learned more about the needs of homeless and hungry people, we want students to come to understand that by taking action themselves or with others, each one of us can make a difference in the lives of homeless and hungry people. To do this, makeChange brings Hannah’s experience of empowerment and “the power of one” to the classroom and includes activities at each grade level that inspire students to become empowered—to get involved to help the problem.
makeChange Moment (“Application” – Hannah came up with a plan, met with her Grade 1 teacher and carried on to implement a plan to help a homeless shelter—all of which ultimately led her to found The Ladybug Foundation and take her message of love and caring across Canada.)
Having become empowered to get involved to make a difference, we want students individually, in groups, clubs or as a classroom or school, to create and put into action a plan to help with needs and conditions of the homeless and hungry. Included is the lesson that their learning can go beyond the classroom, to touch people in far-reaching ways, big or small, by bringing to bear the students’ unique visions, talents, creativity and passions. To do this, makeChange includes specific planning tools and offers menus of action activities that help students respond on a personal level. The program also includes “I Can makeChange,” a web-based learning and planning program accessible from The Ladybug Foundation Education Program website.
The program includes additional elements of:
Reflection, where teachers and students are encouraged to reflect on their learning, to make connections for future learning.
Having learned, become empowered and acted, we want students to look back on their experience and make connections for future learning and action. To do this, makeChange encourages teachers and students to discuss and explore what they did, record observations, recall events, celebrate successes, and recognize the meaning and importance of what they have done for homeless and hungry people in need of their help.
Assessment, to evaluate success in achieving outcomes.
makeChange provides teachers with the opportunity and resources to assess student perceptions and understandings as they relate to the issues of homelessness and poverty. This includes “assessments for learning,” to help inform teacher instruction, and “assessments of learning,” to evaluate students’ understanding of the curriculum content.
The program will be available for purchase on a grade level basis online or by contacting The Ladybug Foundation Education Program Inc. in October 2008.
For more information about The Ladybug Foundation (www.ladybugfoundation.ca) and The Ladybug Foundation Education Program Inc. (www.ladybugeducation.ca) please visit the websites.