Classes are done, decision-making is not

July 14, 2017

Classes are done, decision-making is not

By: Stefanie Lasuik

The Better Business Bureau’s LIFT program, which was taught in two Winnipeg high schools last year, helps students discuss problems and arrive at ethical solutions. 

School’s out. For most students, this means leaving math, English, and biology studies behind.

Older students will head off to summer jobs and begin making decisions that will shape their lives while finding themselves in new social situations.

While English, math, and science are no doubt valuable and some lessons will carry with students into their summers, some are left behind in the classroom. Knowing how to read Shakespearean plays will do little to influence a student working in retail who doesn’t read Shakespeare on the weekends.

One class, however, will directly affect students’ lives, not only down the road but as soon as this summer.

The Better Business Bureau Foundation’s LIFT program, which ran in two high schools for the first time this spring, taught students how to make ethical decisions.

In the program, students discussed different reactions to situations and how those reactions affected themselves and the world around them.

How should they solve a disagreement with a co-worker? How should they act when they witness blatant bullying or disrespect at a party? How should they conduct themselves on social media?

All these situations have real-world consequences. Solving a dispute with a co-worker makes it easier to come into work the next day but it also helps young people form a habit of settling disagreements in a healthy way.

LIFT helped plant that seed by teaching students to recognize when an ethical decision needs to be made, and also how to think through a problem and arrive at a solution that’s ethical and works for the person making it.

Decisions surround us every day. Finding a framework that guides those decisions is an invaluable part of students’ learning experiences.

School may be over for the summer, but the real-life lessons imparted in LIFT certainly are not. Those lessons are relived every time a student makes a decision and remembers LIFT when doing so. A commitment to ethical decision-making is renewed with every choice. And such decisions can take the deciders further in their goals while benefiting those around them.

Two Winnipeg high schools, Fort Richmond Collegiate and Shaftesbury High School, have already implemented LIFT.

LIFT will expand in the fall, and if your school division or youth agency is interested in incorporating LIFT into its youth programs, contact Len Andrusiak, president and chief executive officer of the Better Business Bureau serving Manitoba and Northwest Ontario by calling 204-989- 9011 or emailing