Citizen Teacher Diane Merrill led her apprenticeship "Stand Up" for the second time this spring at Jane Long, which teaches students how to be leaders in their communities. The apprenticeship is based on a curriculum developed by the Holocaust Museum of Houston, where Ms. Merrill serves as a volunteer docent. The mission of the Holocaust Museum is to end hate by encouraging citizens to be active rather than bystanders whenever they are faced with injustice in their community. In "Stand Up", apprentices learned how they can be advocates in their community to prevent hate, bullying in their schools and ensure that an event like the Holocaust never occurs again. Apprentices also participated in the Butterfly Project, an initiative led by the Holocaust Museum to collect 1.5 million handmade butterflies to represent each child that was a victim of the Holocaust. The apprenticeship culminated in an interactive lesson at the Holocaust Museum led by the Director of Education, Dr. Mary Lee Webeck. Students learned about the important role that everyday people played in rescuing others during the Holocaust. Museum artifacts, historical multimedia and hands-on activities pushed the students to relate the history they learned about to their current community. Students ended their visit by presenting the butterflies they made for the Butterfly Project exhibit, which will be permanently displayed in 2013.
Students walked away from their experience at the Holocaust Museum of Houston armed with the tools they need to stand up against prejudice, hate and violence in their community. Citizen Schools thanks Ms. Merrill and the Holocaust Museum for helping our students understand and apply such important life lessons, and we hope to continue the partnership with the Holocaust Museum so every student can be empowered to make the world a better place.
[Picture: Citizen Schools apprentices and Dr. Mary Lee Webeck]