Across Canada, high-school students are focused on ending the term/school year with the best possible grades with some looking forward to post-secondary opportunities.
Many of these students have benefited from student nutrition programs, including in Ontario, where more than 1.1 million students benefit from donations made by shoppers to the #Toonies for Tummies program organized by The Grocery Foundation and enabled by its retailer and sponsor partners.
In addition to fundraising, The Foundation is also focused on elevating awareness of the importance and benefits of student nutrition programs. Recently, awareness efforts have been embraced by students themselves, many of whom partake in programs in their schools, and stand to directly benefit by them.
Appreciating student engagement is an important piece of the awareness equation, led The Foundation to create its Agent of Change program in 2015. To date, many students have taken part as Agents helping to shape the dialogue around student nutrition with their peers and have been profiled in their local community news, in social media and on TV and radio spotlighting their efforts.
This year, The Foundation's Agents of Change program offered students the opportunity to take part in Leadership Training, delivered by ME to WE experts. Here's what they had to say:
"Many of my friends have aspirations to make a change, and this program could give them a base or foundation to understand how they can help the causes they support."
"It is a fun way for students to learn about food insecurity and it is an amazing opportunity!!! It is also an amazing way for you to help out your community!!"
"The program is very interactive, and teaches points and information in an exciting way...it also makes change feel so possible, makes it feel like it's not a hope, but it's a reality. It's incredibly inspiring."
"You really strengthen your leadership skills and awareness of food. There is a wide variety of activities and teamwork building work. It's amazing and it's really fun."
"You get to learn about an aspect of our society that is affecting a large portion of our population in a fun way that's more then the traditional pen and paper learning!"
With this training in hand, participants are now taking the initiative to explore ways they can bring the importance of student nutrition to life in their schools ¾ via events, fundraising efforts and other means that they are passionate about and connect most with their student community. More exciting student-led efforts are set to roll out in the coming months.
The Grocery Foundation's Agent of Change program is open to all high-school students in Ontario.
Students have the opportunity to take part in programs in the GTA in person or attend via virtual sessions.
In addition to the wonderful experience, students gain invaluable leadership skills, and earn volunteer hours.
If you know a student that would be interested in registering for the Agents of Change program visit our Agents of Change registration page.
Registration is now open for the 2019 program.