Nomination: SHARP

Character Community Collaboration

S.H.A.R.P. (Students Honing Abilities and Recognizing their Potential) is an after-school program developed by Across U-hub that focuses on self-discovery, peer relationship and leadership development for high school students of East Asian immigrant descent. Since our pilot program in 2014, over 170 students go through different multi-media activities including, but not limited to, experiential learning, reflection and introspection, mentorship, community-based outreach activities, cultural exploration and volunteer training.

S.H.A.R.P. seeks to nurture the students’ sense of belonging, improve well-being, and build character. At the end of the program, students will be described as a person who has courage and perseveres to face their life challenges and adversities and would pursue their goals unwaveringly.

Throughout the program, students will have time to explore their inner self and face their fears in life. One of the activities, “Collage”, requires students to decorate a human face with images from newspapers, magazines and books. The goal is for students to explore and visually represent their origins, family, values, etc, allowing them to understand how they process their past and identify what shapes their present self. They will then have courage to continue to develop themselves in the coming days through building up and solidifying their beliefs and principles.

Many activities in the program require students to work in a team setting. For example, the students will join our annual city-wide event to explore the rich multiculturalism of Toronto. A team of four run around the city to answer questions and student in various team challenge activities in order to complete the course successfully.

Some students will also participate our annual leadership training camp, where they will experience physical, mental and spiritual challenge activities. For example, high and low rope challenge course, which require students to overcome their fears. Camp provides an environment for them to build up different attributes such as perseverance and inclusiveness to achieve the tasks that they set out to accomplish.

A favourite program among students is tree planting that happens in different parks across GTA. Since 2014, students have planted more than 600 trees. This activity build a sense of belonging in their community and gives students an opportunity to grow in their respect for nature.

Through S.H.A.R.P., students grow to be citizens of character – bright men and women of the future who are self-aware, who can work with others in a team and who make meaningful contributions to the community.

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