Activism Assignment

Open Think Globally, Act Locally to find out more about this assignment.

Here’s a link to Toronto-based NGOs, grouped by the issue

Here’s the same information,  listed by alpha, with an indication if the organization has replied to Mr Heffernan’s e-mail asking if they would be willing to meet with students in this course.

And here’s the rubric for the first part of the assignment

Here’s the final rubric – to be submitted with your portfolio of activities and evidence of self-education


42 Responses to “Activism Assignment”

  1. heffernan Says:

    I’m currently assembling a list of NGOs with offices in the Toronto area. I have over 50 so far. I’ve e-mailed all of them asking if they’d be willing to have som face to face interaction with you guys. I’ve had about 25 positive responses to date. Unlike the Civics YPI project, you have a lot more time to make contact with your NGO.

  2. Matt Says:

    yeah this project is way better than the civics ypi project!

  3. Evelina Says:

    Mr. Heffernan,
    i agree with Matt scott, i believe this project is much better than the YPI civics project. I also like how you are giving us more time to go and visit offices in Toronto. For the civics project, i felt like we didnt have enough time to visit more than one.

  4. Justina Says:

    For the activism thing due on Oct.22 is it just a write-up with all the information listed in the rubric?

  5. permarev aka Heffernan Says:

    I think I answered this in class today

  6. Justina Says:

    What might be an example of “evidence that the whole group has discussed and thought out the direction”? In what ways would we show that?

    • permarev Says:

      Well I guess you could fabricate something about your “discussions” and I would be none the wiser. But an honest report could include something on these lines: “we discussed the topic and these were the areas we all wanted to pursue – xxxxx, yyyyy etc. Beyond these common areas, Mary plans to …….. while Bill plans to ………….”

  7. aaronsheng Says:

    We don’t really have a specific direction at the moment. For starters, Braeden and I have come to agreements that we do not want companies in control of this ‘free trade.’ There are many subjects that branch off that, and we’re working on those right now. Is that alright?

    • permarev Says:

      Sure it’s alright. See my reply to Justina. But you need to have a common philosophical approach to Free Trade. It doesn’t have to be FT is good or FT is bad but “these are the problems with unrestricted FT; these are the ones who benefit; these are the ones that lose; these are some of the things that could be done to rectify things.”

  8. Aaron Sheng Says:


    From what I’ve read so farm free trade has a lot of good theories that only work under ideal circumstances, while fair trade makes these theories work because it creates these ideal circumstances.

  9. Dominique Says:

    The list of ways to help the environment looks really easy. I’m definitely going to save it and I’m planning on getting serious about No.5 and exploring No. 6 in the immediate future.

  10. sarelle shiner Says:

    I have been looking at different movies that have to do with GM foods and i came up with a movie called The Constant Gardner”. I feel that this movie draws on some of the topics we have been studying in class. About the corruption of companies in the case of GM foods, in this movie it’s medication. It shows how this company is experimenting on people to test a new product and is slowly killing people. I just thought it might be good to watch.

  11. Dayoung Says:

    Justina sent out an email regarding this to everyone in the class on November 3rd, but in case anyone forgot to check their emails, please check this link out. Justina and I are doing our activism assignment education around the world. More specifically, it is on the disparity in the level of accessibility and opportunity for education for different parts of the world.
    1Goal’s goal is to provide education for the 69 million out-of-school children worldwide, by 2015. Many FIFA World Cup athletes have signed their support, and I hope this can teach our class that we are fortunate to be able to attend school every single day, and we should be thankful for this opportunity.

  12. Dominique Says:

    If anyone knows any Canadian Women’s Right’s organizations or lobby groups, preferably in Toronto, we would be grateful for the name, because I am having a bit of trouble coming up with a solid group

  13. Justina Says:

    Thank you for the great support after our presentation today! If you forgot your change today and you still want to give, we’ll bring the box to class tomorrow again =)

    Here are the links to check out:

    Go check out our display case by the double gym too!

  14. permarev Says:

    Here’s some good info on activists supreme – Wikileaks, It’s a documentary in 4 parts:

  15. DaYoung Says:–india-s-one-woman-charity

    It is a story of one woman making a big difference in the lives of the poor in India through education. She sponsored more than 200 students this year alone through her own charity, and also supports adults through providing sewing machines to help build their own businesses.

  16. Justina Says:

    For those of you who were around when the representative from NMCF came in to speak to our class last week, these videos were some of the things that the Fund does in South Africa. The community programs give practical training to youth and helps them stay off the streets.

  17. Sandra Says:

    If the NGO you want to use for your activism project has a blank in the replying column on Mr. Heffernan’s try e-mailing them again yourself, just in case. It doesn’t hurt to get in touch again especially if you’re passionate for what that NGO stands for. I e-mailed WWF today and am going to cross my fingers and wait for a positive reply. Good luck!

  18. Sandra Says:

    I meant Mr. Hefferan’s NGO chart.

  19. Maya S Says:

    I am extremely extremely excited to get into this assignment! I know this is something i can grow to be passionate about, and I’m glad that I am finally getting the chance to be.

  20. Amanda Says:

    I think it’s a great idea that this is an on-going assignment through out the entire course. Right now my knowledge on activism is pretty general, so I would love to develop a stronger understanding for topics such as biodiversity and the environment.

  21. Katrina Says:

    I agree with Maya and Amanda! I am very excited to start this project. I learnt a lot in grade 10 Civics class about the organization we chose, and I hope this year I can do the same. It is very exciting to know we will be teaching other students at York Mills about a topic we are all passionate about.

  22. Heffernan Says:

    I hope you have all read the “Think Globally, Act Locally” link at the top of this page. To the original list, I added some school-based actions:

    • Organising a petition in the school and beyond.
    • Conducting a survey to gauge student opinion.
    • Arranging for an outside expert/activist to come to speak to the class.
    • Putting on a poster display in the library or other areas of public space in the school.
    • Booking space in the school to set up a table for your issue – could be done in conjunction with other groups

    And what’s not listed but I’ve talked about it – teaching a Grade10/11 class about your issue.

    And of course, feel free to come up with your own activities.

  23. Heffernan Says:

    One other possible action would be to set up a Facebook page for your issue.

    And I’ve decided on the due date for the first stage of the project – Friday, March 2. To see what is expected, open up the “Think globally…” link. The rubric for Stage 1 is on page 4.

  24. Celine Sakran Says:

    I was looking at some of the NGO websites to get a better idea of who they are and what they are about, and it was cool to see all of the different ways they were trying to help fundraise and try to get people aware of the issues. The Toronto Vegetarian Association even had some upcoming valentine’s day treats that were healthy and fun. They’re doing a good job trying to stay up to date with issues, but its hard to get people involved when they don’t know about the organizations in the first place.
    i think the government should provide more advertizing for these programs instead of the one or two wildlife preservation commercials we see once or twice every two weeks on tv…

  25. karia Says:

    This assignment is a wonderful way for students, like us, to get involved in the community and interested in issues.

  26. Raluca Says:

    This assignment is a good way for us to get involved and learn more about our issue. It is also a good way for the organizations to expand, as most of us will become their members and representatives in the future.

  27. RyanGuinWhalen Says:

    This project seems like a great way for me and my fellow classmates to get involved and take action in issues they care about. I’ve always had strong opinions about a diverse range of issues, but have never thought i could do anything to make a difference. Hopefully after this project i will think differently.

  28. Stefan Blazevic Says:

    My personal opinion is that the activism assignment is an extremely good way for us (students) to learn how to gather research for issues, presenting the issues properly to other people and being proper activists. It will also help us in understanding many organizations that seek to improve human rights around the world as well as improving many other things in the world (health care, poverty, etc.).

  29. robert Says:

    i agree with Ryan, this project looks awesome and i am looking forward to making a differance

  30. Jamie Says:

    I can’t wait to start this project! It will be a great way for all of us to learn how to be activists and fight for what is important in today’s world.

  31. Heffernan Says:

    I came across this site from the Al Jazeera TV network:

    Their description: “Activate – a brand new series telling the stories of activists around the world as they challenge authority, take direct action and stand up for what they believe in. This is true grass roots activism. Use the map to follow the activists, interact with them, watch the films and tell us about a campaign that you think should be on the Activate Map.”

    • John U. Says:

      Very good and interesting site. Its really nice to see what people are doing to make the world a better place. Thanks for posting.

  32. Rachel Says:

    I am really looking forward to this assignment! Last year i took co-op at a NGO called TakingITGlobal, which is an online community of youth from all over the world interested in global issues and creating positive change. Being a part of TIG and communicating with other youth around the world really inspired me to make a difference. And this project is the perfect opportunity to do so. Can’t wait!

  33. Sara A. Says:

    I am already so interested in my activism assignment topic(although it is very sad) This assignment really makes me think and ask myself this question: What would the world be like if everyone cared?

  34. Morna Says:

    I think the activism assignment is great because in the world of today everyone is always self-absorbed with his or her own problems and sometimes we forget to think of the social issues that occur around us.

  35. Rory S. Says:

    It’s great to have a project like this, it let’s students get more involved in issues that we see on the news everyday and gives us a better understanding of our world

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