Actor Martin Sheen  has confirmed that he will write the foreword for the 2009 Learning for a Cause Anthology  published from Lester B. Pearson High School titled “Raising Humanity”. The book, which will feature the creative work of nearly 150 high school students, will explore what it is to be human through poetry, fiction, non-fiction, drama and art. The book’s objective – to inspire readers toward creating a more human and humane world.
Learning for a Cause, founded in 2004 by noted educator Michael Ernest Sweet, has published four full length publications of student writing to date. The books feature students writing on issues of socio-political concern in an effort to inspire positive change. The educational non-profit has been featured on CTV, CBC, NPR, Vermont Radio, Canadian Teacher and many other media. In 2008 the Quebec Ministry of Education filmed a special documentary featuring the teaching model.
“Too often students are shut up in the dark in schools occupied with busywork. Learning for a Cause provides students with an opportunity to weigh in on issues in our world and to be heard through their writing. Additionally, the project provides the experiences of becoming a published author and writing with celebrities. Having people like Martin Sheen on board helps solidify the fact that these books are real and what they say is important.” Said project founder Michael Ernest Sweet.
The 2008 publication was also a hit featuring guest writers astronaut Roberta Bondar and MP Justin Trudeau. The book, titled Down to Earth, was in response to global warming and boasted endorsements from the likes of Farley Mowat and David Suzuki.
As founder Michael Sweet comments, “These are REAL Students dealing with and writing about REAL Issues which are then published and promoted through REAL Books! It makes what goes on in school, in the classroom, real and valuable and exciting.”
This year’s book promises to be the biggest splash yet with issues such as abortion, family violence and lighter themes like love and laughter all to be explored between the covers. The book will also feature secondary guest writer astronaut and Canadian MP Marc Garneau.
Martin Sheen will meet with a student delegation from the writing team and arrange other opportunities for promotion. Having read Down to Earth Sheen was impressed with the idea of having students work on real issues like environment and humanity and came on board eagerly.
For more information on the project and its publications consult the website at http://www.LearningforaCause.org