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Aspen Foundation fosters social justice action

January 13, 2015 Cory Hare, ATA News Managing Editor

Program awards grants to 10 schools

Ten school projects will foster social justice learning thanks to grants from the Aspen Foundation for Labour Education, an organization that lists the provincial ATA and several locals among its financial supporters.

This is the third year that the foundation has collected applications from schools for social justice grants. With individual amounts ranging from $200 to $1,500, the program will award a total of $7,500 to 10 projects.

"We were really excited about what we saw [and] the potential for the kids to be learning through those programs," said Harold Neth, chair of the selection committee.

The Aspen Foundation is dedicated to encouraging citizens to participate in labour and social justice initiatives. It established the grant program in the hope of developing engaged citizens who aren’t afraid to tackle problems they see in their communities, Neth said.

"We’re hoping that because kids have been engaged in this in school that they will have learned the basics of how to organize and do things to benefit themselves and others," he said.

"It’s important for kids to learn empathy for others and I think the social justice projects help them in that direction. It’s caring for somebody else beyond yourself."

To be eligible, projects must foster engagement in social justice issues;
advance the mission of public education; develop the capacity to be citizens in a democratic society; promote a desire to reach one’s full potential; and demonstrate empathy, co-operation and respect in approaching social justice issues. ❚

The Jan. 13 issue of the ATA News mistakenly listed St. Mary's High School in Calgary as the recipient of an Aspen Foundation grant for the Be Just project. The project was actually organized by Trisha Sotropa's Grade 9 class at St. Mary's School in Medicine Hat.

The ATA News apologizes for the error.

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