Community Building



Here are some things to think about:

What struggles are important to your community?

Why are these struggles important?

What are some origin narratives around these struggles?

How can you get involved or make a difference?


Download a copy of the FACTS Founders’ Day document that outlines the ideas around the founding of FACTS for grades 3 to 5 classes and for Kindergarten to grade 2 classes. As well, it includes the thoughts of some of the founders, including Debbie Wei, Alex Wong, Betty Lui, Hao-Li Tai Loh, Helen Gym and Debora Kodish. On the left is some of the content from the document.



Founders’ Day


Celebrating the founding of the Folk Arts – Cultural Treasures Charter School is a yearly ritual at our school. By telling and retelling the story of our founding, we get to talk with kids about how it can take years of struggle and lots of people working together to realize our dreams for our community.

FACTS Founders Day: March 9, 2006
[For grades 3-5]

What is Founders’ Day?

Founders are people who “find” something – people who start something.
At FACTS, we are all finders. We are all founders.
We are ordinary people: grown-ups and young people.
We are making this school, all of us together, every day.
We are people from many backgrounds and cultures.

We are all working towards something, with justice and hope in our hearts.

Today is the first birthday of our school. It is the day that we got the right to found (to open) our school. We had to work hard (to struggle) for the right to open FACTS.

It took a long time. It wasn’t easy.
Today is a day to remember how good it is to work together with other people for a dream of justice.


Have you ever dreamed a really big dream?

Sometimes we dare to have dreams that are so big and wonderful that they seem impossible.

But sometimes if enough people have that same dream and all work together, they can make their dream come true.

That’s what this day, March 9, Founders Day, is about. It’s about the day a very big dream – about a good education truly for all – came true.


Why would we want to open our own school?

Sometimes we see things that aren’t fair or that make us sad or angry.
And we want to change things.
We wanted a school that put kids first, that respected culture, family, community and art. We thought it was unfair that there wasn’t a school in Chinatown.
We were sad that some schools were not friendly to parents.
We thought it was unfair that some schools weren’t happy places and didn’t have books or music or art for all the kids.
We listened to many parents and children talk about the hard times they had at school, to what they needed, to what they dreamed.

We wanted to change things. At first we didn’t know if we could do it. (Or how). But we knew we had to try.

We thought if we had our own school, we would make a school in Chinatown where everyone loves children and where parents are welcome.
Where children learn to respect each other and planet earth.
Where children learn the skills they need to help to make the world a better place.


It takes a lot of people to make a school.

A lot of things have to happen to make a school.
The hardest thing was that we had to get permission from the government to open our school.

We asked people for help.
Teachers wrote letters that said, “I would like to teach in a school like FACTS.”
People in Chinatown went to meetings and said, “Our community needs a school like FACTS.”
Parents from all different neighborhoods signed petitions that said, “We want our kids to go to a school like FACTS.”
Businesses said, “We will help this school if you let it open.”
All kinds of people stopped what they were doing.
They said, “Yes, this school is important. It is needed. It is a good dream. Let the people start this school.”

Finally the day came for the government to make its decision.
We went to a big meeting.
Over a hundred people from all over the city came into the meeting wearing red t-shirts that said, “We Support FACTS.”
It was a beautiful thing to see so many people coming together.

Four people from the government were the ones who got to decide whether or not we could have a school. When they were ready to vote, all of the people in red t-shirts stood up, holding our signs.

Then the votes came: Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes.

And all of the people cheered and cried and jumped up and down because we were so happy.

That was one year ago on March 9. That’s why we are celebrating today.


You are now also the ones making our new school.

Did you know that you are the very first group of children ever to come to this school? Did you know that your teachers are the very first teachers ever to teach at FACTS?
We are all making this brand new school together now. We are all learning together.
We are all founders! Happy Founders Day!

(Text from Ellen Somekawa, with Debbie Wei, Alex Wong, Helen Gym, Hao-Li Tai Lo)