An Intergenerational Project: Action Centre LaSalle and LaSalle Elementary Junior Take Action!
by Nancy Battet
The LaSalle Action Centre, which is associated with the Pearson Adult Career Centre (PACC), is a social integration program which provides courses for adults with physical and intellectual challenges.
Action Centre teacher Denise Currie has taught at the Centre for several years and wanted her students to experience the concept of the entrepreneurial spirit. She learned about the entrepreneurial spirit when she took part in a workshop at the Lester B. Pearson School Board before the pandemic.
Taking part in this workshop raised her awareness about the fact that entrepreneurship is not always about starting a business. It’s also about social entrepreneurship where students are encouraged to brainstorm ideas about a passion they may have.
To take action, students can develop a product, create a service, or organize an event.
After discussions with her students, and with the ongoing pandemic, they came up with the idea of offering a service, which entailed reading to younger elementary students in the LaSalle area.
The Action Centre was taking action! Collaboration was achieved with LaSalle Junior Academy with teacher Karen LaPorte and her Grade 2 students.
Ms. Laporte and her class were thrilled when they heard they would be the recipients of the Story Time service by Action Centre students and after some brainstorming with their teacher, they came up with an entrepreneurial project of their own! They decided they would like to organize a meet and greet for their Action Centre mentors prior to the story time activities.
Students prepared a PowerPoint presentation to introduce themselves and to showcase all of the wonderful things they do and learn in their classroom. The event took place on February 17, 2022.
“COVID quarantine hit when these children were in kindergarten, so almost their entire school experience has been in a bubble,” said Karen Laporte. “Developing this connection with the Lasalle Action Centre has been really special for my students. They were extremely motivated to present their projects to adults outside of their school. It sparked creativity and teamwork. They also loved hearing stories from our new friends at the Action Centre”, she said.
The first of the story telling activities took place on Zoom last February 24, when Action Centre students read both French and English stories to the second graders.
Action Centre teacher Denise Currie is very inspired by this new partnership with her students and LaSalle Junior Elementary School.
“This cross generational project of creating a story time for Grade 2 students has empowered this community of adult learners and recognizes the contribution of people with physical and intellectual challenges”, said Action Centre teacher Denise Currie.
Her students agree.
“I like making a difference in the perception that children might have about people who are physically challenged. Reading to a Grade 2 class was a positive experience” said Action Centre student Melissa Lemilen. Said Laura Wishart, “I like working with children and it boosted my confidence to read to them”.
Natasha Zielinski agreed. “I learned not to be shy to read to children.”
There are more activities being planned for these students. The Action Centre mentors will be reading to Ms. Laporte’s second graders once again at the end of April. As well, Denise and her Action Centre students plan to invite their younger buddies in person at the Action Centre in June.
There may even be an ice cream truck!
During the week of April 18th, OSEntreprendre announced that the Story Time project had won the challenge at the regional level. It will now go on to compete at the provincial level. Best of luck!