There’s a growing movement at Upper Canada College towards direct volunteerism, with the Upper School geography department being the latest to engage.
In an effort to give back to the community and bolster UCC’s commitment to the resettlement of Syrian refugees, the department has forged a partnership with Lifeline Syria and launched its first digital mapping tool. The map aims to help interested citizens in the Greater Toronto Area find a Lifeline Syria sponsor group to either join or provide donations to.
“It’s important for all of us to be generous with our time and skills during this time of need,” says UCC geography teacher and Creativity, Action, Service director Craig Parkinson. “We need to embrace these new families and share our strengths with them, as they will soon be our neighbours, colleagues and fellow citizens who may someday be helping us.”
The first iteration of the map displays the general location of 243 sponsor groups working with Lifeline Syria. Members of the public seeking to join or contribute to a group can search it and connect with those in their neighbourhood.
Subsequent versions of the map will include more features and additional functions, some for Lifeline Syria’s internal purposes and others that will be publicly accessible.
“Volunteering is not just about encouraging students to accumulate 40 hours of community service,” says Parkinson. “It’s about all of us — parents, Old Boys, students, faculty and staff — doing what we can for the common good and not counting down the hours until we don’t need to help anymore.”