News & Events

Schools Program

October 31, 2022

The Shoebox Project for Women believes that building community awareness and education is a vital piece of fulfilling its mission of sharing empathy, kindness and compassion with local women impacted by homelessness.

As such, we have  launched a new and improved program directed at students in grades Kindergarten through Grade 8 in Canada. The Shoebox Project for Schools includes a comprehensive set of lessons, activities and engaging resources to educate students about homelessness in Canada. 

We developed The Shoebox Project for Schools with the help of various educators and mental health professionals. One of the many reasons that inspired us for starting this program is to generate awareness about the systemic and institutional barriers that contribute to the reasons for experiencing homelessness in Canada. 

We have been working with students for the past decade, and have witnessed first-hand how a Shoebox Project gift drive can drive empathy and foster a love of volunteerism among even the youngest learners.

These are the primary topics that will be discussed in our program: 

  • Understanding and Interpreting  Homelessness
  • Exploring the concepts of Intersectionality and Privilege 
  • Communicating with Empathy
  • Healthy Communication at Home
  • Interpreting Emotion
  • The Cost of Living
  • Examining Media Bias 

The content discussed in each lesson has been designed in such a way that is suitable for the ages of the students and relevant to the subject that is being taught– Mathematics, Social Studies, Language, Health, Arts etc. 

Live on the site now is our first topic, Introduction to Homelessness, but new topics will be added each month, as well as French lessons.

Why a School Program?

While Homelessness continues to be a widespread social issue with no concrete solutions, it is our hope that by introducing a School Program and in partnership with the participating schools, teachers and students, we find creative and impactful ways to make a catalyst difference in our local communities and in the lives of many individuals & families. 

Children these days, despite their young age, are savvy, interested, and curious about the world around them. School -and not social media- is the first place where they go to learn about the things that are happening and affecting their community. Leaving their questions about homelessness unanswered can create confusion and concern as well as create room for stigma, assumptions and misinformation. 

We believe that taking the time to discuss the complex instances that lead to homelessness, will help students be better informed and more likely to contribute to broader solutions both currently and in the future. 

It’s easy to bring The Shoebox Project to your School! Click here for more information and be sure to share this exciting new program with any educator who believes that real change starts in the classroom.

“Two years ago, I met a woman working at a non-profit organization who had been homeless just a couple of years prior. She thanked me for a Shoebox she had received as a gift during that difficult time in her life, as it provided her with a moment of holiday joy. This exchange meant so much to me because it’s exactly what we hoped to accomplish when we started The Shoebox Project 10 years ago. The Shoebox Project started as a small idea, something that my family could do to help others. But it’s mission of connecting people to one another and bringing joy drew people in and led to the creation of a charity that provides gifts to women and girls in shelters — first across Canada, and now in other countries around the world. To this day, I still marvel about how such a simple idea grew into something I could never have dreamed of and one that has impacted so many in need.”

- Caroline Mulroney Lapham, Co-Founder
“Looking back after 10 years, I could have never dreamed of how the Shoebox Project would resonate around the world. The growth of our charity is due entirely to our incredible team of sponsors, coordinators and volunteers, without whom we would be exactly where we were in year one. When imagining Shoebox project ten years from now, I am torn. Ideally there would be no need for what we do. But until that day comes, we will be here, bringing a little bit of joy into the lives of those who deserve it most.”

- Jessica Mulroney, Co-Founder
"After our first year, I realized we had started something really special. We had reached out to a few friends and the response was overwhelming. It was still a small-scale operation but we were able to help people give love and necessities to women in need. There are so many women in shelters who have suffered immensely, and making someone feel loved and supported by their communities can have profound effects. I look forward to the next 10 years and expanding our mission!"

- Katy Mulroney, Co-Founder
“My fondest memory of us starting up The Shoebox Project is delivering boxes with my niece Thea directly to shelters. I loved the moments when we were all together, packing the boxes with our family & volunteers in Ben & Jessica’s garage. I also have always loved getting emails over the years from moms who enjoyed making these boxes with their children, and teaching them the importance of what they were doing. These notes & thoughts are special and show just how much love goes into each Shoebox.  The grassroots nature of The Shoebox Project resonates with me most… How happy & special one of these boxes makes someone feel, perhaps when they need it most. Hopefully The Shoebox Project continues to grow without ever losing what makes it special. It’s global now, but it remains one person making an effort for someone they don’t know - Someone in need of the warmth and love that these Shoeboxes bring. We all know this is more important today than ever. The Shoebox Project is always top of mind. I enjoy connecting brands to the charity via our business Power of Privé, especially to raise funds and enhancing the profile of The Shoebox Project.”

- Vanessa Mulroney, Co-Founder