WE Schools is an innovative experiential service-learning program that engages educators and group leaders around the world to empower youth with the skills, knowledge and motivation to bring positive change in themselves and the world. With WE Schools, you are empowered to confidently teach social justice issues through service-based learning. The core components of the WE Schools program include social justice, well-being, diversity and inclusion, partnerships, and social entrepreneurship.
Service-learning opportunities are at the heart of our WE Schools program. Through WE Schools and WE Day, we are dedicated to providing educators and students with resources, opportunities and experiences to support their passion to learn through service, and in the process to better the world. The range of service opportunities is virtually endless, from playing music at a seniors’ residence, to participating in a shoreline cleanup, to developing a website for a small community non-profit, to volunteering in developing communities abroad.
Service-learning is an academic pedagogy, and while it does involve performing service, it is based on a structured academic foundation and much more than simply volunteerism. Students who participate in service-learning within the WE Schools framework apply their academic learning to real-life settings and situations by being active in meaningful community-based service. In addition, they work on problems that make academic learning relevant while enhancing their leadership and social skills, analytic ability and civic responsibility.
Together with our educational programs, in more than 16,000 schools WE Schools enriches the lives of students with service-learning resources and curriculum that are aligned with provincial Ministries of Education in Canada and the United States Department of Education—in association with course offerings such as Civics, Social Studies, Science and English Literature—and fosters the positive value of service by empowering the next generation of young leaders to assist 3,000+ charities and causes annually.
Through rigorous, independent evaluation of our programs by educators and third-party organizations such as Mission Measurement, our service-learning programs are shown to have a significant and valuable impact on academic engagement, enhanced civic and community engagement, and life-skills development including leadership skills and capacity-building.
In collaboration with passionate and diverse supporter groups—including the federal and provincial governments, reputable foundations, socially responsible corporations and compassionate philanthropists—we are committed to providing specialized curricular programs dedicated to serving youth, such as our Sacred Circle program, focused on enriched opportunities for Indigenous students across Canada, and our WE Well-being initiative, devoted to changing the way we understand and promote the mental well-being of our youth.
WE Schools seeks to be reflective of each region’s diverse demographics and to serve schools that are in the greatest need of enriching programming for their youth. As WE Schools continues to grow and expand its reach, we take great care to create equitable access for youth served by our programming. In doing so, we are proud to say that many of the students participating in WE Schools in the U.S. are from Title 1 schools (eligible for free or reduced-cost lunch).
A key value of our programs is equity—and we believe that access to resources, tools and events that support service-learning shouldn’t be an opportunity available only to the few based on economic ability to pay. We are grateful to be working alongside program sponsors that share our belief in empowering youth to change the world. In collaboration with specially chosen sponsors and partners, we are able to create expansive opportunities for students and educators that allow them to engage in service programs and campaigns at no cost.
We adhere to strict set of guidelines for sponsor integration, as per the WE Schools Standards & Guidelines: Corporate and Foundation Sponsorship Recognition Program. These guidelines ensure that only very limited branding is present on student-facing resources. Just as importantly, the guidelines ensure that sponsor-funded programming leads causes that represent the passions and interests of WE Schools participants. Multiple external independent reviews have assessed and approved of our guidelines and their effective implementation.
As a result of this free and accessible programming, more than 4.3 million students are able to focus on what matters to them: changing the world. WE Schools paves the way for change throughout the school year, and student-led efforts to drive local and global impacts are recognized at WE Day, a stadium-sized celebration of service that reinforces a year of positive social action and creates a sense of community for socially driven young change-makers.
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WE Schools provides educational outcomes for students by integrating innovative service-learning programs, which are aligned with Department of Education priorities, into the existing curriculum. We work with organizations such as the College Board to create programs like AP with WE Service, which introduces service-learning into AP courses. AP Computer Science with WE Service, for example, gives students the opportunity to learn application programs that have impactful uses in their community—one group of students in the program developed an app for students that helps grow their math skills.
WE Schools teaches students how to be active citizens by promoting social engagement in their local and global communities. What makes the program unique is that it empowers students to support the causes that are important to them and helps them identify ways of providing that support that reflect the students’ unique interests and abilities. WE Schools helps students to support of thousands of charities and causes every year.
The dedicated support we receive from our WE Schools and WE Day partners enables our programming in more than 16,000 schools. At the heart of all our WE Schools programs and WE Day events is the priority of creating equitable opportunities for all youth participants. We firmly believe that access to resources, tools and events that support service-learning should not be limited only to select students based on socioeconomic means. Service is a key driver for work-skill and life-skill development, as well as for building resumes for post-secondary applications, scholarships and first employment. Service should bridge divisions in our world, not exacerbate them. We are grateful to be working alongside program sponsors that share our belief in our youth to change the world.
To ensure the effectiveness of our programs to empower youth around the world and provide them with the tools and resources they need to take meaningful action in their communities, WE Schools and WE Day have been subjected to multiple rounds of independent third-party reviews.
From organizations such as Mission Measurement to school board representatives to educators and youth themselves, representatives from all of our programming stakeholders have had the opportunity to review, evaluate and advise.