Saturday, March 17, 2012

Relive your Love: education in action

One of the best ways of learning is doing, so education programs where students accomplish real-world tasks are a great way to enhance academic study with practical experience.
I did the co-operative education program at the University of Waterloo, working a total of 2 years in various corporate and government positions. My wife started her teaching career even earlier than most, through a high-school co-op program where she assisted in a primary classroom. Nowadays, it seems that most secondary and post-secondary institutions offer a variety of co-op programs where students can spend one or more terms putting their early lessons to use in a real workplace. I’ve even come full circle; after being a co-op student in the early 90s, I now find myself supervising high school and college co-ops working for volunteer organizations I help run. 
Another way to marry practical effort with study is through class projects that support or create a real-world application. Georgian College’s new Event Management program is one example. Events are important to most industries, both business and non-profit, so students with these skills can expect to find work in many areas. But while learning how to plan events this spring, Georgian’s class is also putting on a real one: the Relive your Love event supporting Gilda’s Club Simcoe Muskoka.
You may recall comedienne Gilda Radner, who became famous in the original cast of Saturday Night Live. Her comic genius was cut short when she died of ovarian cancer in 1989; she had noted that cancer gave her “membership to an elite club I’d rather not belong to”. From that quip came the inspiration for Gilda’s Club, an organization founded by her friends in her honour. Its clubhouses provide supportive spaces for men, women, and children with cancer to meet, discuss, and share their experiences. 
A week from today, on Thursday March 22nd, the local chapter of Gilda’s Club will benefit from a romance-themed fundraiser at downtown Barrie’s new Mady Centre for the Performing Arts. The event starts at 6:30 PM with cocktail reception featuring a live band and gourmet hors d’oeuvres and food stations, before moving into the theatre at 7:30 for a gala screening of the Oscar-winning 1973 film “The Way We Were” starring Barbara Streisand and Robert Redford.
Each $35 ticket includes not just the film, but a drink, food, popcorn, live entertainment, and a chance to win items in the raffle. Funds raised will be split between Gilda’s Club and the Georgian College Events Management Scholarship.
For tickets, call 705-739-4228 or go online to If you or your business would like to be a sponsor recognized at the event, contact Lauren Hill at 705-790-9169.

Written for my Root Issues column in the Barrie Examiner, published as "Co-ops can have some far-reaching benefits"
Erich Jacoby-Hawkins is a director of the Ontario School of Economic Science and Earthsharing Canada

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