Job Title: Literacy Interventionalist; Founder and Personal Historian at Memory Catcher Video Biographies
Nicole Beart, a literacy interventionalist, tells students on their first day that her last name is pronounced “Heart” with a “B.” By year end, those students say it’s an appropriate comparison because she obviously cares.
When Beart started her job at Britannia School three years ago, she was taking students to doctors’ appointments after hours. “I was enlarging books on the photocopier because they needed glasses and they couldn’t access them or their parents were too busy working to take them to appointments,” says Beart.
But she felt it wasn’t enough. Beart reached out to some community partners to see if a doctor could regularly visit the students. From that modest idea, Britannia’s own health clinic was formed — Westend Kids & Family Clinic.
Students access healthcare on their own when necessary in a Boys & Girls Club space close to the school. Within the first three months, half the students attended the clinic, which is a partnership between the Boyle McCauley Health Centre and the Edmonton West Primary Care Network.
“It’s setting them up to be proactive to take care of their own health and be independent,” says Beart.
During a health class, Beart spoke about poverty and asked her students how it could be addressed. Students came up with an idea for an in-school food bank and they were completely responsible for its operation. Beart began a similar program in a neighbouring school.
“Some kids who were maybe the quieter ones, who maybe didn’t have the opportunities for leadership previously, really rose to the occasion and discovered some-thing about themselves.”
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