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Impact: Streetfront, stories about an unusual Canadian school.

Nominee Ben Feringa Impact Award 2023 | Category student
22 May 2023
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The Honours College Students

In the coming weeks the nominees for the Ben Feringa Impact Award 2023 will introduce themselves and their impactful research or project. This week in the category student: Five Honours College students with their book on Streetfront, an alternative education program on a School in Vancouver.

Who are you?

We are Ryan Bolt, Charlotte Hoogers, Candelas Gross Valle, Nina Valentini, and Yuna van den Brom. We worked together on this project for the course unit ‘Diversity, Encounter, and Inclusion in the Urban Context’.

Where did you meet?

We are five students from completely different fields of study, who all met through the Honours College.

Could you explain what your project was about?

Our project is a book about Streetfront, a school in the downtown East side of Vancouver, Canada. Students of Streetfront face poverty, addiction, and abuse, themselves or in their family. It makes Streetfront no ordinary school, but a school that believes in students who have become lost in the system. Streetfront helps them to rebuild their confidence. It is a place full of people who believe in them. And the way in which they experience that the most is by running. Three times a week, every student runs. Streetfront created the largest group of secondary-school aged marathon runners.

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Streetfront book cover

What made your project impactful and how will society benefit from it?

Our book is a collection of stories from former students of Streetfront. We are making an impact by getting their stories out there. Most have heard of the statistics on poverty among children, broken homes, and homelessness in our own country, but who are these children actually? What have they been through? And most importantly: how have they been resilient? How have they been stronger than most of us could ever imagine? We want the students of Streetfront to get the recognition that they deserve.

What was your personal motivation to conduct this project and what did you learn?

We had a guest lecture by one of the teachers of Streetfront, Trevor Stokes, during our Summer School. He introduced himself humbly: ‘I don’t have a PhD, I’m no researcher, I’m just a high school teacher’. But we were all left speechless at the end of his lecture. He changed the lives of his students and showed us how much hope even a little care can give, and how necessary it is to believe in these students, to give them another chance. Our lecturer told us at the end that we could leave and go on with our day, or stay to ask Trevor some questions or talk to him in general. We remember sitting there thinking: if we leave now, we will never hear about these students again. We did not want that to happen. We wanted them to become known, to get their stories out there.

Overview nominees Ben Feringa Impact Award 2023

Last modified:25 May 2023 3.13 p.m.
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