"When you speak up, you not only are helping yourself, you are a voice for many who are too scared to speak."
– Graduate of the New Directions Speaker's School
The New Directions Speaker's School (NDSS) in Thunder Bay is a non-profit organization which offers courses to people who are economically isadvantaged, injured workers or unemployed. Its aim is to create a more involved community by giving skills and increasing the confidence of people who, because of economic discrimination, are often excluded from public discourse.
The support of the SJF's Literacy Fund is helping low-income and disabled workers to become advocates for social justice, making links between disability, poverty and unemployment.
The school develops public speaking and leadership skills, and raises awareness of social justice issues. The courses take place in an environment of peer support and mutual aid. Learning with others who are facing similar barriers, participants' develop confidence and courage to speak publicly. Students have gone on to volunteer and speak on a variety of social justice issues. Thanks to the program, many graduates have increased the public and local politicians' awareness of critical issues on mental illness, homelessness, poverty, addiction and the criminal justice system.