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(YOU)nity

[YOU]nity is a group comprised of Pickering youth, whose objective is to inform and educate the young people of the community about issues regarding race relations and equity, as well as promoting diversity.

[YOU]nity runs an annual March Break day camp spreading over two full days run for students in grade 6-8. Taking place at the Pickering Central Library, this camp encourages these young students to learn about as well as take action in the community about such issues.

[YOU]nity's members are student leaders within their high school communities, and wish to raise awareness and understanding through various events for the youth of Pickering. The committee was formed in 2007 in partnership with members of the Pickering Advisory Committee for Race Relations and Equity, the group aims to run numerous events throughout the course of the upcoming year. In the year 2009,

[YOU]nity has shown to progress over the years with many returning members as well as new ones. The students involved in this group feel grateful to be given the opportunity to teach younger students about diversity within the community of Pickering.

Interested high schools students, living in Pickering or the surrounding areas, are encouraged to contact us at: pickering_younity@hotmail.com. Students and teachers of Elementary schools are also encouraged to contact us for more information on our annual March Break Diversity Camp.

Meeting Schedule:

[YOU]nity meets Monday nights at 7:00 pm. Meetings are usually held in the Boardroom of the Central Branch of the Pickering Public Library.

[YOU]nity members report on high school diversity initiatives

Dunbarton High School | Pine Ridge Secondary School

Dunbarton High School

Dunbarton is a giant mosaic pieced together by countless acronyms. We have our SAC, ACC, SSV, MSA, SSC, STOP, and DAA. It's kind of ridiculous. These acronyms may only be three or four letters long but they stand for something huge and passion driven. For years, our high school has strived to bring all kinds of awareness to our student body to educate, then train, and make change and it is safe to say we have been successful in doing so.

Our Afro-Caribbean Club runs numerous events all throughout the month of February for Black History Month. They kick-off with a powerful assembly with skits, dance and spoken word, throw in a Luncheon and patty pop Fridays and finish off with a 4-day trip to Michigan for a history trip and some shopping. Our Muslim association spoils our school community with their annual Eid-Luncheon. Arabic foods and some North-American favourites are piled high on both student and administration plates.

The entire school was involved with Dunbarton's own World's Aids Day campaign. Representatives from every council at the school were lined up in the foyer with pamphlets of information and donation cans. Red ribbons were pinned on everybody's shirt and many sported their Gap purchases for their (RED) campaign. For events like these, our unity within the school community is evident.

Recently, students already interested in leadership roles have been given the opportunity to actually use the skills they already possess in a Multicultural and Diversity setting. The Harmony Certificate program was introduced in early October and has been running smoothly since.

Our Gay/Straight Alliance has also been successful in many of the events they have run at our school. Students have participated in the Day of Silence to support students and administration and to bring awareness and education for others on an issue that still needs to be tolerated and overcome.

Dunbarton encourages and strives to make everybody included and a part of our school community. Our Best Buddies program invites students of different abilities to be included in the many happenings at Dunbarton, unifying another large part of our student body with the rest of our school community.

STOP is the committee at Dunbarton that exists to oppose prejudice and educate others on tolerance and celebrating diversity and culture. There are announcements about different Holidays DHS students and teachers might celebrate and Food Fairs offering a taste of what Dunbarton is made of. We have random multicultural dress days where students are encouraged to wear things from their own culture and from others as well. Last year on "Wear your Hijab to School Day", students from different backgrounds and cultures took part. STOP finishes their year off with their annual Culture Show displaying dances, songs and national costumes of all kind. Parents, grandparents and other members of the community join Dunbarton in the celebration.

Written By: Mariyah Gonzales
Grade 12 student at Dunbarton High School

Pine Ridge Secondary School

The students of Pine Ridge strive to work together as a team towards building a better school and community. At our school we know that by participating in student activities and events, we can develop and strengthen leadership, creativity, talents, self-expression, refine life-long skills and friendships. Pine Ridge has over 40 recognized clubs and initiatives. Everyone has the ability to find their niche and passion in a range of diverse social, cultural, athletic and spiritual events at Pine Ridge.

Our multicultural council, Students Together Against Racism, promotes diversity and harmony within our school. For the past five years, Pine Ridge has been celebrating our annual Festival of Lights event. The event features the seven different festival of the winter and fall season showcased through dances, food, speeches and display booths.

The entire school participates in our multicultural show, REACT. It is a completely non-profit event where we showcase our student body's talent, which is followed by a dance.

The Student Activity Council is the heart of our school, promoting school spirit. The members of this council organize a Christmas food drive, collecting food for the homeless. This year, they are planning on coordinating a Talent Show, where all proceeds will be donated to Free the Children.

Our Culture of Peace committee created an Eid / Diwali Dinner, uniting the students of the school to come together and celebrate these two traditional religious festivals.

Our Black History Month committee work tirelessly year round, to prepare for Black History month. We have daily announcements, facts, displays, and guest speakers that remind our students what time of the month it is.

Our Muslim Students Association did something completely different his year and partnered with the school's Christian committee, IMPACT. There were two guest speakers, each a religious leader from the two different faiths. They lead an informative, intelligent and powerful discussion, talking about some of the difference and similarities between the two faiths.

Pine Ridges works hard to include everyone in our school. We have many students involved as active members of our Best Buddies committee. We try our best to involve students of multiple exceptionalities with many aspects of the school.

Finally, this year a new committee was formed, Free the Children. Their current project is fundraising to build a school in Africa, which will cost $5,000. They have been bringing events to our school all year and collecting donations.

Each student in Pine Ridge is actively involved in different committee. The type of involvement varies, from a multicultural council, athletic council, leadership, student government, and even best buddies. Everyone has the ability and the tools to find a committee to channel their passion and give back to the world.