We work with educators to teach children principles of compassion and service, thereby impacting the social framework of generations to come.
Pillar Three: Education for Children and Youth – Raising Hope Givers
When his daughter was 8, and his son was 4, Tim found himself trying to answer their questions about the homeless people they would encounter on trips downtown. At the time he was a fulltime street-worker, fully immersed in the engagement of homeless youth and adults everyday. Even still, he had a difficult time knowing what he should or could share, which words to use, and how much was too much. This inspired him to write and illustrate a children’s book – “The Cardboard Shack Beneath the Bridge: Helping Children Understand Homelessness” (foreword by the Honorable Hilary M. Weston, published by Castle Quay Books). This small book also includes a teachers’ and parents’ discussion guide.
During his time as the director of Youth Unlimited (Toronto YFC)’s LIGHT PATROL street outreach, an interactive elementary school room presentation was developed, built around “The Cardboard Shack” that included a book reading, an in-class “cardboard shack” encounter, an interactive wet mitten and oversize coat discussion, an art and creative writing component, and a Light Patrol mobile base visit. It became popular quickly, and they were unable to maintain its momentum while doing actual on-going street work.
Education for children and youth: raising hope-givers
The Hope Exchange is now proceeding with this vision, and taking it much further. “The Cardboard Shack” classroom experience and curriculum is the first in a series we are planning, called the “Children’s Compassion Series,” that will address meaningful, and often complex, issues in a safe, thoughtful and age appropriate manner. The initial model will stem from Tim Huff’s first children’s book and teacher’s guide The Cardboard Shack Beneath The Bridge: Helping Children Understand Homelessness; developing a manageable classroom curriculum ideal for elementary school settings and parenting groups.
We support educators in developing individualized programs that teach children the principles of service and compassion, thereby impacting the social framework of generations to come. Children will learn, through hands-on experiences, about “hope giving” and develop confidence in knowing who they are and how they can positively impact the world around them.
There are few things more inspirational to vocational Hope Givers than the promise of younger generations growing into areas of service and leadership thoughtfully and with heightened understanding. With that in mind, our “Children’s Compassion Series” that will address meaningful and complex issues in a safe, thoughtful and age-appropriate manner. We will create interesting and interactive classroom forums that will educate children and encourage young minds to keep compassion at the centre of “hard to understand” human and social issues.
We believe the program is unique in that it comes with an award winning children’s book and teaching guide, it involves the participation of student ambassadors who will experience Hope-Giving in action, it provides memorable and experiential learning on the issue of homelessness and because it will be developed with the insight and valuable input of educators and practitioners.
The second series piece will grow out of the next children’s book to be developed. This will be titled, “It’s Hard Not to Stare” (tentatively by-lined, subject to change, “Helping Children Understand Disabilities”). This book will also be written and illustrated by Tim Huff, and the teachers’ and parents’ discussion guide will be written by Jan Fukumoto (who, as well as being a Hope Exchange board member, is a highly experienced and esteemed Special Ed. Co-coordinator for the Toronto District School Board).