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|Project Title: ||Free Box Project|
|School Year: ||2006|
|School - District:||Northampton High - Northampton|
|Contact Name:||Bill Brown|
|Content-Area(s):||English Language Arts|
|Grades:||9, 10, 11, 12|
|Community Need:||Human Needs, (hunger)|
|Brief Description of SL Project: |
Students developed the Free Box Project in which they built large, sturdy boxes for non-perishable food donations, and spent many hours promoting the boxes as a sustainable, low-maintenance program for delivering surplus food from people who have more than enough to those in need. The program will benefited patrons of the Northampton Survival Center, mostly homeless families and individuals who are in need of food and other items.
Students learned how to design, implement, and analyze a community needs assessment. They also learned how to write a grant proposal and a press release. They gained experience public speaking as they promoted the project on air and at various meetings and events.
|The Community Need the Project is Meeting:|
The students designed, implemented, and analyzed a community needs survey. They surveyed a variety of community leaders and residents. Their analysis of survey results showed that many people in Northampton do not have enough food to eat. As a result, students felt hunger was the most critical and highest priority of all needs that were considered and discussed as part of the community needs survey.
|Service Component: |
Placing sturdy, large boxes at highly visible locations around town, and promoting the Free Box Program, which encourages community residents to place food in the boxes for pick-up by the Northampton Survival Center, which distributes the food to needy families and individuals. Over time, thousands of individuals and families could potentially benefit from these food donations.
|Connections with Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks: |
English Language Arts
Stardard 2:Questioning,Listening,and Contributing (Students developed, implemented, and analyzed the community survey, and designed the project through a group process that involved listening, asking questions of each other, and active participation;Standard 19: Writing (Students involved in the project worked together to write a clear and concise mini-grant proposal for Learn and Serve funds. Usually, these applications are filled out by the teacher, but this was written collaboratively by the students themselves, and was quite thorough. Students also wrote a press-release for local media venues describing the project and asking for food donations.) Standard 27: Media Production (Students prepared a coherent media press release, and then followed up with radio stations and newspapers to ensure that their message reached the public. They also delivered the message on radio)
MATH- Grades 9-10 Problem Solving
|How Youth Voice Helps Shape Project:|
Students were equipped with tools to survey community leaders in identifying needs that were important for their community. This process empowered the students to build support amongst themselves and confront a need central in their community, those in need of food, and important amongst leaders as well.
|Student Reflection Component: |
During the last week of school, students will be asked to create a presentation of their projects, highlighting the basic details of their journey, from conseption to completion, and including their follow-up reflections about the successes and challenges of their work.
|Community Partners Involved: |
Northampton Survival Center, Florence Learning Center
|Demonstration/Celebration of Students' Work: |
On the project presentation day, the school will celebrate the achievements of all the students together as they watch and listen to each other's culminating projects for the year. There will also be an "unveiling" of the boxes ceremony, when they are complete and in place around town.
|Evaluation of Project's Impact:|
Project success was determined through student assessments following presentation day. These assessments measured whether they have completed the project, what they learned from the project, and how easily they were engaged by the project.
|Challenges/Solutions Identified by District:|
Challenges included finding enough funding to buy all the materials. Students involved in the project wrote letters to potential funders, and wrote a mini-grant proposal for Learn and Serve funds through this grant.
Another challenge was having the support of public officials, so that the boxes could be placed in easily accessible public locations. The students met with the mayor and other town leaders during the community assessment phase of the project. When they returned, with a fully designed project addressing the city's homeless and hungry, the mayor and others felt that they had been heard, as hunger is such a critical issue in Northampton. Mayor Higgins readily endorsed the project, and offered to put the first of the three boxes in a high-traffic location in City Hall.
* 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.