I have been a Student Services teacher in an elementary school in Cranbrook for over 20 years. This September, I moved to Vancouver to begin work as Social Justice Coordinator with the BC Teachers’ Federation. I have also been involved in a number of volunteer activities. I am a director of a refugee sponsorship group, East Kootenay Friends of Burma and have volunteered as a counsellor with Options for Sexual Health. I have been involved with my local and provincial teachers’ unions in a number of activities and committees supporting social justice and international solidarity.
As a teacher, I have worked with children whose families are on social assistance. This has given me a glimpse of the struggles these families face in their attempts to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, and school supplies for their children. However, my understanding is limited to an outside’s glimpse of what these families are dealing with on a daily basis.
I am taking the Welfare Food Challenge in order to develop a deeper understanding of one of the many challenges faced by people living on social assistance. I am also participating to help raise public awareness of the inadequacy of social assistance payments in meeting people’s basic needs. I hope that this will result in increased pressure on our provincial government to act responsibly and increase social assistance funding.