Next Step Junior Senior High is taking a unique approach at poverty awareness with their Poverty Awareness with Skateboard Project (PAWS).
 
The school recently received a $1,000 grant from United Way of the Alberta Capital Region called Dentons Make Your Mark on Poverty. The grant was given 21 schools that had student-led initiatives promoting action and awareness around poverty.
 
Next Step science teacher, Kristian Basaraba, decided he wanted to do something a little different for their project and have the students get a first-hand experience. The school partnered with the Old Strathcona Youth Society to have students go and meet with people who are dealing with poverty in their everyday life.
 
"I want my students to learn about the challenges the youth there face when living in poverty and kind of bring those experiences and stories to life in a creative and engaging way," said Basaraba.
 
From there, the students were given blank skateboards to use as canvases and translate these stories into skateboard designs themed around youth living in poverty.
 
Once the students are finished designing their skateboards, the plan is to eventually host an exhibit to show them off.
 
"Hopefully with graphics or images that conjure up some sort of thought of evoke some sort of emotional response around poverty and get people thinking about that."
 
One idea Basaraba had was to auction off the skateboards to the public. All the proceeds would go towards the Old Strathcona Youth Society.
 
They hope to do the exhibit sometime in early February.
 
SouthPointe school also secured the Dentons Make Your Mark on Poverty grant with their project, Warm Hands, Warm Hearts.

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