Friday, April 27, 2012

YAC Meeting: April 27


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1. Relay for Life:  Emily updated us and encouraged people to form a team. All information about the Relay available at the Casady Website   

YAC will have a team.  Salman gave the name for the YAC team:  You-nited Against Cancer.  The tent will host youth and teachers who wish to participate.  So far we have Miss Croce and Mrs. C. Clay. 

Wednesday, May 9th, Relay for Life will have an inspiration speaker in Chapel. Mrs. Clay will be walking for the group in memory of her uncle Victor who passed away from liver cancer on April 16. 

2. Presidential Awards:  Delivery and group photo with YAC: May 17. Salman, Shiva, Nicole, Emily, and Cassidy distributed the candy bought by Mrs. Clay, Khadija and Zainab, courtesy of the CPO to celebrate the 50 award winners after they take their group picture on May 17th after chapel in the back of chapel.

3.National Service-Learning Conference in Minneapolis (Shiva, Alex, Salman):  Shiva and Salman stated that the experience was good and inspiring.  They did not provide details, except that Salman stated that he thinks Blake School Service Youth Board is exploring a partnership with the Casady YAC.  Salman has been communicating with one of its members via text messaging.

The items below was tabled for the last meeting of the year
Mrs. Clay attended Equity and Community Engagement through the Heart of Service,” a presentation made by Nan Peterson (K-12 Director of Service-Learning), Scott Flemming (Director of Blake’s Office of Equity and Community Engagement) , Lisa Sackreiter (English Teacher and Director of Service-Learning at the Upper Division) and 9 members of the Blake School YAC. The presentation shared how Blake School addressed the following questions and challenged participants to consider engaging in collaborative discussions in their own environments: How can service learning combine synergistically with pluralism, Gay Lesbian Bi-sexual Transgender issues and peace initiatives? How can community engagement and equity develop personal identity and personal transformation? How can we best consider local and global service? How can the Student Service Board and Promising Practice: Paths of Service and Peace encourage student leadership?Service Blog from Blake:
Mrs. Clay requests YAC perspective to the above questions and the below discussion as we brainstorm answers to : Where are service-learning and YAC now? Where do we want both to be? How to get there? 

5.An online discussion: WHAT IS YOUR PERSPECTIVE?
In a message dated 4/25/2012 12:21:11 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
We have an eighth-grade teacher here whose students came to her with an idea of going to a foundation close to our school, finding out what the kids there need, videotaping the trip, and then showing the video to the other 8th-grade students so that they could collect stuff for them. The teacher came to me for approval. I told her I love the idea of them going to the foundation to volunteer and trying to inspire other kids to do the same, but I said no to the material collection part. It was a doubtful no, though, and I'd like your feedback on my decision.

I said no because we want to get kids here away from the idea that you can only help people by giving things/money. Of course the kids are being sweet and well-intentioned when they donate things or money, but I think it creates an unhealthy relationship between people when you're going there to give them things. It emphasizes the differences in material conditions, which makes real relationship-building more difficult. I fully support donating to a foundation's bank account, but to go directly to the beneficiaries and give them things/money seems counterproductive.

I also worry about how often we ask parents for things or money (we ask the kids first, but ultimately that request goes to the parents). I think fundraising should be a vehicle to educate about need in a community, not an end in itself, and if you ask too often, people don't listen to the message. For that reason, we are trying to limit the foundations we support here and only focus on certain ones.

So what do you think about my decision? Was it the right call? The teacher said to me that I was depriving a foundation of things they need, which is true and actually sounds pretty horrible, but I want to look at it more long term. I really appreciate any feedback, thanks.
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Hi Mike,
I understand your comments. However. I would back track. I would revisit the idea and let the kids know they are on the right track to do this level of investigation to find out the need. IF the students have also considered what skills, talents and interest they bring to the situation they find, they could consider a different kind of challenge.
Perhaps instead of doing for, they do with. Together they identify needs and brainstorm how to use ideas, talents, skills, and existing resources. I once knew a school in the U.S. that did a similar investigation of a women’s/family shelter. The students then challenged themselves to supply what was needed through recycled goods. They found gently used carpeting, they painted, together with the children in the facility they made art. The entire community was involved.
In another situation, this time at an international school in Europe, the students recognized a situation where there was an authentic need for funding. This was undeniable. So they did raise funds by creating and selling products they made that educated the community about the issue. They also found ways to interface with the children at the facility, which had to be at a distance due to health concerns. Still, they elevated their engagement from simply donating to learning, connecting, engaging.
My concern with a no in this situation is there is a missed opportunity to discover the YES! Invite the students to discuss the situation. Invite them to share their thoughts. Invite them to reflect on what you have to say and then listen deeply to what they have to offer. Find the YES.
Best wishes,

Thursday, April 12, 2012

National Service Learning Conference: Minneapolis 2012

Blake School YAC - Service, a Path to Peace at Blake School
Casady Delegation at National Service Learning Conference with Nobel Prize Laureate, Shirin Ebadi
Cyclones at Malls of America
Shiva, Salman, Alex, and Mrs. Clay attended. Mrs. Clay stated, "During reflection times we shared what we experienced. Engaging, relevant, not what we expected, inspiring, hopeful were words most often used."

Alex chose workshops to enhance his understanding of service learning in classes of academic rigor.  Salman and Shiva concentrated in workshops about Green Schools and grant writing.  Mrs. Clay explored Youth Thrive, Peace Jam and workshops sponsored by the Shinnyo-en Foundation. The group visited Malls of America during their stay in Minneapolis.

The Shinnyo-en Foundation offered the group an invitation to apply to their grants with concrete projects that have a calendar of activities, concrete goals, process, and expected outcomes.  Projects may benefiting Casady and/or the Oklahoma City community. 

Blake School's director of service learning received the practitioner of the year and the Blake School Youth Service Council in the Upper Division presented their service as a path to peace experience at Blake School.  Salman started text exchanges with a member of the Blake YAC regarding project collaboration with pluralism and green initiatives.
The National Service-Learning Conference is in Denver next year. Salman hopes a bigger group might be able to attend.  Mrs. Clay will ask the Development Office to consider writing a capacity building grant to bring  more teachers to the conference.

Monday, April 9, 2012

National Volunteer Week Preparations: April 16-22-Relay for Life May 7th

National Volunteer Week Activities
YAC's suggestions for A and B block activities were not approved. YAC had chapel and Friday-Block to celebrate.  The Service-Learning office promoted Global Youth Service Day projects in the community (YWCA walk against sexual violence,  Nichols Hills Earth Day 2012, Rebuilding Together Work Day) 

Salman volunteered at Earth Day.  There were several senior girls and MD students volunteering at Nichols Hills Earth Day too.  Salman's "carbon footprint survey booth" was decorated with posters and banners made by Primary and recycled materials art sculptures and sock puppets made by LD students.  Special thanks to Mrs. Czerwinski, Mrs. Scoville, and Mrs. Scott for their help.

Chapel:  Monday and Friday Speeches:  Seniors Andrew, Chris and Cassidy shared their service experience in chapel.

Friday, B-block: YAC meeting and YAC Volunteer Week Celebration, Volunteer t-shirt day-Off Uniform.  The celebration was very low key. YAC and Environmental Club had ice-cream for all and the Presidential Awards: Pins, certificates and letter signed by President Obama were distributed with green, gold, silver and bronze chocolate bars to receipients.  The chapel recognition of Presidential Award Winners will be May 17.

We had an off of uniform with T-shirt of place you volunteer on Friday also. Miss Chaveri's video production class interviewed students and we look forward to their final video of interviews.

Mrs. Clay, Salman, Shiva and Alex @ National Service-Learning Conference in Minneapolis April 10-14.  NEXT PROJECT: Relay for Life 2012. Check Smilebox memories from 2011


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