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|Project Title: ||Raising Community Awareness of Hunger and Homeless|
|School Year: ||2007|
|School - District:||South High Community - Worcester|
|Contact Name:||Maureen Binienda|
|Contact Phone:||(508) 799-3335|
|Content-Area(s):||English Language Arts|
|Community Need:||Health/Nutrition, Housing|
|Brief Description of SL Project: |
One class of grade 10 students learned about Hunger through the “kNOw Hunger: Challenging Youth to Be Leaders in the Fight Against Hunger” curriculum, developed by the Gerda and Kurt Klein Foundation and the Center on Hunger and Poverty at Brandeis University. Students read two related novels Night and Homecoming. Students partnered with faculty and mentors from Worcester State College Intergenerational Urban Studies Department to further explore hunger in their community. Students opened a homework center at a local shelter for women and children. Students participated in the Youth Against Homelessness Committee (YAH) where they helped raise $30,000. Students and mentors planted for food pantries and volunteered at the Central MA Food Bank.
|The Community Need the Project is Meeting:|
The students were addressing the problem of hunger and homelessness in Worcester. There have been many newspaper articles in the local paper on these two urban issues. Students toured the Worcester Community with a local neighborhood center director and identified hunger and homelessness as a community need. Students and their families struggle with these issues-69% of the school population has free- or reduced-price lunch
|Service Component: |
The service component was chosen by the students after they attended several information sessions. Students also attended two forums at Worcester State College where they learned about community agencies that focused on hunger and homelessness, and were introduced to the leaders of each of the agencies. Students were invited to join three local committees: United Way, Worcester Food Advisory Council, and the Youth Against Homelessness Central MA Housing Alliance. Two to four students tutored at the local shelter every Monday from 3-5 pm for the 2006-07 school year. Each student in the class tutored a minimum of 10 hours. Students also participated in the Walk for Homelessness. Students worked at the Brigham Hill Farm planting food for local pantries and sorted food at the Central MA Food Bank.
The community impact was great. Students have been invited to attend Food For Thought Forums at Worcester State College in Fall 2007, to harvest the food planted, to tutor at the shelter, and to sort food one afternoon every week at the Food Bank through the new school year. Students continue to serve on the committees.
|Connections with Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks: |
The following ELA Standards were addressed through this project: Standard 3: Oral Presentation. During Project Day students presented to peers and the community, their findings from their research and service learning experiences with those who are homeless and/or hungry.
Standard 8: Understanding a text. Students read and analyzed several texts, from the novel Homecoming to the memoir Night. Students researched and discussed homelessness and hunger using non-fiction texts.
Standard 9: Making connections. Students made connections from their service learning experiences to the different texts. They also related their research to the texts Homecoming and Night.
Standard 19: Writing. Students wrote an eight-page research paper on
homelessness and hunger. Their paper was written with a clear focus, coherent
organization, and sufficient detail.
Standard 20: Consideration of audience and purpose. Students considered the audience and purpose as they wrote their papers and prepared their presentations.
Standard 21: Revising. Students passed in a draft of their paper and then revised it before turning in the final draft.
Standard 23: Organizing ideas in writing. Students’ papers were organized with a clear sense of purpose.
Standard 24: Research. Students conducted research using texts, Internet, interviewing, and community service.
|How Youth Voice Helps Shape Project:|
Students chose whom they would interview for their research, how they would create a visual of their research, and how they would craft their presentation and research paper. Students chose their community service agency.
|Student Reflection Component: |
Students reflected in their journal entries on their tutoring at the shelter homework center. As part of their research paper, students reflected on what they had learned from their experiences and what they felt could be done to further help with the issues of hunger and homelessness. Students completed a progress chart on What I Know About Hunger, What I Learned About Hunger, What I still Want to Know.
Student reflection responses included:
“First I had to do research using the school computers on Hunger and Homelessness. That was boring. But then I got the choice to go out into the real world and actually experience it. I tutored kids living at the shelter. It was eye-opening to see that those kids were just like the rest of us, only they didn’t have a place to call home. By the end of the project, I realized that I had the power to help someone who was less fortunate than me. Not only was it a project and a grade but a new way to look at hunger and homelessness and I am happy I was able to participate in it.”
“The hunger curriculum and service taught me a lot of things. I feel that hunger and homelessness will never be completely solved but everything that a person can do to help can make a difference. I know I will be that one person for the rest of my life. I will be able to be that person because I am going to continue to volunteer my time to helping others. When I go to college, I am planning on taking a class on community service learning. Finally, after college, I want a job working with people. That is now my dream and my goal.”
|Community Partners Involved: |
The AESG partnership with the Worcester State College Department of Intergenerational Studies and the Urban Studies Program has been most beneficial. The AESG students have developed strong bonds both with Dr. Maureen Power and her staff, and the youth and senior college students. Learning the kNOw HUNGER curriculum, and reading the two novels Night and Homecoming occurred jointly for both groups both in classrooms/ lecture rooms at Worcester State College and South High. The analysis of the novels and the connections to hunger in Worcester also occurred at two shared forums. The AESG and Worcester State worked together on community service learning projects: planting food for the soup kitchens at the Brigham Hill Farm, sorting food at the Central MA Food Bank and the Boston Food Bank, participating in the National Youth Leadership Conference on Hunger and Homelessness in Boston, co-presenting an Affordable Housing and Food Stamps informational sign up session for a Worcester Hispanic Group, participating in the Walk for Homelessness, and touring the Worcester community to see firsthand the facilities and agencies currently providing services to those that are hungry.
|Demonstration/Celebration of Students' Work: |
The AESG and Worcester State celebrated the success of this partnership with a special celebration at Worcester State College where the students were recognized and congratulated by the President of Worcester State College. Worcester State College staff and students were invited to join the AESG in a celebration day trip to Martha’s Vineyard in June 2007.
|Evaluation of Project’s Impact:|
Worcester State and the AESG have been requested to participate in service learning at the Central MA Food Bank one afternoon a week for the next year, and to help harvest at Brigham Hill Farm in September and October the food they planted in May 2007. The AESG and Worcester State have been asked again to partner with the Central MA Housing Alliance for the 2007-08 school year. Worcester State College is offering a college course, Food For Thought in Fall 2007 to continue to explore the issue of hunger. The AESG students and staff have been invited to attend these lectures and guest speakers. Worcester State College and the AESG will jointly work on a Outreach Food Stamp Campaign and a Universal Breakfast Campaign in Fall 2007.
Students completed a pre- and post-test on their knowledge of hunger. In June 2007, students showed a tremendous increase in knowledge, especially in the areas of services/ agencies available in the Worcester community. Students shared positive feedback with their teachers and the WSC mentors about their service learning experiences and how it tied to the curriculum. A group of 10 students became advocates against hunger for their families and their neighborhoods.
|Challenges/Solutions Identified by District:|
There were no challenges related to the process of implementing the CSL curricula.
* NOTE: This project summary was written by the district/community. Any text in italics was added or modified by the Department (ESE). Most of these projects were supported with Learn & Serve America funds distributed through the ESE.