At Citizen Schools, we've seen the impact of bringing the community together in support of middle school students. The AmeriCorps Teaching Fellows in Newark, New Jersey thought, why not teach the students the same thing?
As part of the Citizen Schools 8th Grade Academy program, the 8th graders at Louise A. Spencer Middle School have been learning about leadership and how to prepare for their futures. Led by AmeriCorps Teaching Fellow, Nicole Sunwabe, the students focused the month of October on learning to lead through community service.
As an AmeriCorps member, Nicole and her team know the importance and power of national service. By allowing the students to get invested in a cause of their choice, she aimed to instill that same passion for service in the students. Nicole said, “Not all students from Newark get the chance to work on a community service project and experience the impact and importance of giving back. We wanted to teach them about the importance of service and give them a project they could take ownership of and make them feel proud.”
The project they chose was to raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness Month and participate in the Making Strides Walk in Newark. “They were so excited about choosing this cause and raising money and awareness about breast cancer in their school. They went above and beyond to get people excited,” Nicole said.
With an ambitious goal of raising $500 from their school community, the students made pink ribbons to sell, and made banners to hang in the halls. They even wrote a poem as a group to share with their friends and families.
On October 20, after selling hundreds of hand-made ribbons, the students swelled with pride at the walk, clad in their pink shirts and bandanas. Alongside family members, teachers, the Citizen Schools staff, and the hundreds of people from their community, these students were able to see the impact of joining together to support a cause.