National Child Day is a day created to bring awareness to the rights of children. As part of this celebration, the CHYS Association ran an information booth to increase public awareness about children’s rights.
This holiday is observed annually on November 20 because it was the day that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) was adopted. This day is celebrated and acknowledged all over the world, as respecting youths as citizens remains an issue globally.
Grayson Wadsworth-Hayes, is a fourth year student studying Child and Youth Studies as well as Psychology, and is also the Vice President and social media/marketing coordinator within the Brock Child and Youth Studies (CHYS) Association. Wadsworth-Hayes has always had a passion for advocating for children.
“It’s important to raise awareness for National Child Day because in Canada, most people actually don’t know about it. The president of our association is from Nepal, where Children’s Day is an actual holiday and celebration — and I think the fact that we don’t learn we have rights, as children, even when we are in school, speaks a lot to how the system can be changed in order to make more of a lasting influence/impression,” said Wadsworth-Hayes.
This year was the first time that Brock has attempted to celebrate National Child Day. The CHYS association thought that it was important to implement children’s rights initiatives within the community. Students in CHYS elective classes have the opportunity to learn about the rights of a child but students not involved in those classes, unless they research it themselves, are not taught about it in schools.
“In order to celebrate National Child Day, the Brock CHYS Association took over the blackboard by Market as well as a table in Mackenzie Chown A Block hallway. The chalkboard had the four key articles of the UNCRC; the rights that every child possesses; while the table was handing out buttons and the UNCRC to fellow students,” said Wadsworth-Hayes.
The association also ran a social media campaign. An informative video about children’s rights featured several members of the CHYS Association and was spread throughout Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to raise awareness.
The CHYS Association claims the UNCRC is an important part of what Canada stands for as a country. While the age of “children should be seen and not heard” is largely behind us, it is not far removed. The UNCRC attempts to make the treatment of children and their rights fair internationally, addressing the different rights children are entitled to as humans, but don’t always receive. Every country in the world has signed this agreement, apart from the United States, which is still considered a controversial decision.
“This day is important to me because I have a big place in my heart for children, being a future teacher, and I think that this is something that is really important to be an advocate of. I love being able to sit at our table and hand out books in order to educate other students, staff and faculty, on what the UNCRC is and the rights of a child. I think it is important for people to be aware of children’s rights because the articles in the UNCRC have been accepted by 195 countries, yet many people don’t know about them,” said Grace Chretien, a first year student in the Concurrent Education/Child and Youth Studies Primary/Junior program.
As an aspiring teacher, Chretien maintains the importance of understanding the rights of youths when working with them.
“These are standards that everyone who works with children should be aware of, so that all children are being treated fairly and equitably. As a first year student, I had no prior knowledge that these rights even existed and I think that says a lot about how unaware we are as a society,” said Chretien.
To watch the video that the CHYS Association made for National Child Day and for further information, visit the CHYS Association on social media via the handle @brockchysassociation.