Above: Seventy-one elementary students from Shoreham Public School
The organizer of the event for the past four years is Janet Gibson, a fourth-year McLauglin student majoring in sociology. Gibson is the Chair of the local chapter, as well as international Chair, of Peace By Peace – a McLaughlin-affiliated student club that organizes conflict resolution workshops for school children in the surrounding area and internationally.
Right: York students volunteered to work with the grade-four and -five students.
The McLaughlin Kids’ Day was started 20 years ago to further the philosophy of community outreach which then became part of the McLaughlin mission thanks to George Tatham, the college’s first master. The first Kids Day came about as a result of the initiative of what had been a mischievous McLaughlin residence house that has now changed its ways. In order to demonstrate to the other five residence houses that it had changed for the better, the residence decided to organize a day of activities for underprivileged community children. The first kids’ day hosted local children referred by the Children’s Aid Society, but it proved more effective to forge a permanent relationship with a local school instead. Michael Lanphier, who became the third master of McLaughlin College in 1987, encouraged the relationship with Shoreham Public School in the Jane and Finch area. He is delighted to learn that Kids’ Day is still thriving, referring to it as one of “the most successful and important links between York University and the surrounding community.”
It is hoped that as a result of this initial contact through this community outreach that many of the children who enjoyed Kids’ Day will be encouraged to work hard in school and perhaps one day, they will become York University students.
For more information, visit the McLaughlin College Kids’ Day Web site.