Heleen Terwijn

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Nominated by:  Mary Burns

In 1998, Heleen Terwijn, a Dutch psychologist/psychotherapist, as part of a university research study in immigrant communities in Amsterdam, found alarmingly high depression rates, a lack of future orientation, and disaffection with school among pre-teens in these communities. Profoundly impacted by what she found, Terwijn created a program to capitalize on the natural enthusiasm of children and founded the internationally acclaimed IMC Weekend School. Each Saturday and Sunday at the Weekend School – in 10 schools in the Netherlands, three in Belgium and one in Hong Kong – volunteer guest teachers – all professionals – teach courses in journalism, entrepreneurship, law, medicine, philosophy, and other subjects, to youth ages 10-13 using active, real-world, and collaborative learning techniques.

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