Timmins students were learning how to be heroes this week.
Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Tour for Humanity bus wrapped up its Northern Ontario tour in Timmins over the past couple of days. The bus is a mobile human rights education centre that travels around Ontario to talk about diversity, democracy, and Canadian civic rights and responsibilities.
“(The students) were fantastic, they were great to work with, they were super knowledgeable, they kept wanting to share all of their thoughts and all of their opinions, which is great when that happens,” said Daniella Lurion, Tour for Humanity education assistant, after a session at Pinecrest Public School.
“When I left them at the end with ‘do something, your job now is to do, to be a hero, to be the person that sticks up for somebody else’. I can see that it really sunk into them as well and they were all quick to tell me what they could to stop bullying at school and things like that.”
The junior workshop, Simon’s Story, is targeted at Grade 5 and 6 students.
“It’s the story of Simon Wiesenthal, who we as an organization are named after, and it’s his story as being a kid like them. Simon was targeted because of who he was, because he was born Jewish he was targeted by Hitler and the Nazis. And we discuss the Holocaust, we discuss the Concentration Camps and all of that, but very age appropriately,” she said.
From there, she said they talk about bullying and what they can do about it, such as telling people, sticking up for each other or not being a bully.
“And then from there we transition into being a hero because when you do stand up for someone else you’re being a hero in the world,” she explained.
Talking to the kids at this age is important, because she said they can make a difference.
“This is the next generation, but more than that it’s this age group when they’re questioning and they’re learning about the world and their place in the world,” she said. “Whereas when you get to being an adult you’ve already solidified your beliefs and opinions and they’re harder to change.”