Determined to help her students see all the good in the world, Kate McKenzie has devised a lesson plan that will span eight different countries in eight months.
The Red Deer native who teaches Grades 8 and 9 at Alice Jamieson Girls’ Academy in Calgary said she was inspired to create the Worldviews Project as consistent negative news left her students in despair.
“They really reach this point of feeling like they’re just really hopeless, that there’s nothing they can do and not feeling like change is really possible,” she said.
“I want to make this kind of message that we can do something. That we can fight that feeling of hopelessness and we can take one small action . . . and just get people really excited about getting involved in their own communities and making their communities better places.”
McKenzie will start the project in September by asking her students to film interviews with local leaders that are contributing to their community.
The children will decide which leaders in arts, politics, volunteerism, sports and so on to interview, but McKenzie would like Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and hometown sprinter Sam Effaf to be included.
McKenzie then plans to expand the Worldviews Project into an interactive, globe-trotting adventure in January. And she hopes the international component will inspire a larger audience to take action.
The 27-year-old Lindsay Thurber graduate will take a leave of absence from work and travel to eight different countries to interview inspirational people contributing to their communities in both small and bigs ways.
McKenzie will blog and post video interviews online throughout her eight-month journey. She has already started a Facebook page and is using Twitter to promote the Worldviews Project.
Social media will also allow McKenzie to interact with those following her trek. She is encouraging people to suggest ideas for what she’s calling “Random Acts of Kate” — simple actions that will spread joy, such as buying a family a goat or giving up her seat on the bus.
McKenzie is still deciding where to travel and who to interview for the project. Her trip will be entirely self-funded and she plans on staying with local host families as much as possible.
She ultimately hopes the project will give her students and larger audience a sense of optimism.
“The biggest message that I want to send towards people is we don’t have to have that feeling of hopelessness. We can do something, it is possible. By acting now, by doing one small thing, we can find hope and we can find a hope in change.”
Visit http://fr-fr.facebook.com/WorldviewsProject to learn more about Worldviews Project.