By teaching our students to think, care, and act, we empower them to build a peaceful future.


Welcome to Think, Care, Act, where teachers and students can find rationales and resources to infuse required curricula with peace, character, global, and multicultural concepts throughout the year.

To act in a world whose problems seem overwhelming requires being able to use the powers of critical and creative thinking and compassionate and inclusive care. Employing these tools, adults and youth alike can work effectively and conscientiously to solve problems big and small, global and local.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

GUEST POST #4: HELPING YOUTH (EA/UNCW THINK-CARE-ACT PROJECT PARTNERSHIP 2016)


       

Changing the World…. One Project at a Time: Helping Youth
 EA/UNCW Think-Care-Act Project Partnership.

Introduction:
Dr. Elizabeth O. Crawford, an education professor at University of North Carolina Wilmington, and Susan Gelber Cannon, a middle school teacher, author, and developer of Think-Care-Act Projects, are pleased to present our second collaborative year of sharing Think-Care-Act-Projects [TCAP].  Our EA/UNCW Think-Care-Act Project Partnership allows Episcopal Academy sixth graders and Dr. Crawford’s senior UNCW pre-service education majors to consider personal qualities and talents, identify passions for social change, and act to change the world for the better.  Through video sessions, my students and those of Dr. Crawford have inspired and encouraged each other to make a difference. 

Below, and for the next blog post, you will read future teachers’ guest blogs about their TCAPs, with links for research and teaching suggestions.  Happy reading and thinking, caring, and acting!—Sue Cannon

HELPING YOUTH: Think-Care-Act Project by Meghan Lane, Eleni Carros, Kristin Skeen, and Zach Gerstenberger
University of North Carolina at Wilmington, May 2016

Introduction
All around the world, children go without a quality education, proper nutrition, and adequate supervision on a daily basis. There are many ways in which children suffer, and it is our duty as global citizens to help shape a more positive future for our youth. Learning how to help children has been the capstone of our research throughout the semester. We have found that through educational resources, after school programs, and child labor watch groups, we can assist children in having a brighter future. It is critical that we find ways to support our children both inside and outside of the classroom. To do this, we need to find ways to connect both their school life with their outside life. As teachers, we have a responsibility to take action and ensure that our children do not fall through the cracks of the education system. This can be made possible by emphasizing the importance of working towards goals and letting our students know that they are capable of making a difference.

How To Take Action, by Zach Gerstenberger


Recognizing that children need help is the first step to building a bridge of support for our students. As we teach, we become more familiar with our students everyday and we can see the walls that are built up around them. These barriers can come from a variety of sources such as issues with their families and problems that may arise in school.  However, while children are at school their basic needs are met with proper supervision, healthy nutrition and educational support. When students leave they may not receive all of these basic needs.

To help aid teachers and families we put together a document of resources for local after school programs, national after school resources and lesson plans that can be shared via email. This will help teachers and families find resources to help students when they are outside of the classroom. Similarly we realized that sometimes students don’t feel as though they are part of their classroom community and this feeling can have detrimental effects.  Accordingly, we found a list of books that can be used for bibliotherapy lessons so that students feel as though they are part of their classroom community. The students can journal and discuss these books with the class and their peers to find continuity within their world.

Moreover we found that children want to be challenged.  For example, there are increasingly large numbers of jobs in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields [STEM].  We can challenge our students through quality STEM lessons and instruction.  Additionally, we as educators must give children a choice when it comes to their education, and they need to be fully immersed. With over 10,000 students dropping out of school in North Carolina alone in a year, we have to find ways to help children in school and keep them motivated.

Supporting Youth In and Out of School: by Eleni Carros


“Today’s youth are exposed to a variety of negative factors making them more at-risk to injury, academic failure, and poor health. Youth who are likely to be more at-risk are usually those that lack a strong support system at home, as well as teens who are not coping well with the different challenges that they are facing” (“Information on At Risk Youth Statistics,” para. 1).

One organization that has made a big difference in helping underprivileged youth in the local community and in many other places around the state is The Boys and Girls Club. The mission statement of The Boys and Girls Club is “To enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens” (Boys and Girls Club of America, “Our Mission,” para.1). The Boys and Girls Club has positively impacted youth by providing a safe place for children to go that allows them to build relationships with caring professionals, while receiving assistance in various areas to help them become successful.

Nationwide, there are more than 4,200 Club locations, which are governed locally and serve youth and communities.  In 2014, Boys & Girls Club youth development programs impacted nearly 4 million children and teens. (Boys and Girls Clubs of America, “Our Facts and Figures,” 2016) While at the club, youth are assisted with daily homework, given a snack and a hot meal, and have the opportunity to participate in recreational activities that help them feel like part of a family. The club is a place for them to go to stay safe and out of trouble, while also being productive and having fun (Personal Interview, April 29, 2016).

         To help raise money and spread awareness for The Community Boys and Girls Club of Wilmington, I held a bake sale fundraiser at Defy Gravity, a trampoline park in Wilmington, NC.  Chocolate chip cookies, “Rice Krispy” treats, and brownies were sold for $1, and all of the proceeds went to the Community Boys and Girls Club of Wilmington. I raised $70 and was able to spread awareness by sharing information about The Boys and Girls Club with the customers. Additionally, when the children at Defy Gravity purchased desserts they were able to help other children in the local community.

Be Part of the CHANGE: by Kristin Skeen

 Education is a fundamental human right required for global survival and sustainability. Children of all ages, races, genders, and backgrounds deserve to have a safe place where they can receive a quality education; the children are the future and should be treated as such. We all need to be advocates for change. This does not mean that one person is responsible for changing the world; we just need to impact those around us. As teachers, one of the best ways that we can advocate for quality education on a global scale is bringing it into the classroom. Educating students about these issues and promoting global citizenship can have a significant impact on the future of our world.

Communities Helping to Affect a New Generation of Education (CHANGE) is a project that I have been working on to develop partnerships between schools and their communities. I created fliers for this campaign to highlight the benefits of reaching out for help. These fliers identify ways in which schools and businesses can benefit from helping each other in the fight for quality education. Using fliers, instead of a website, I created a situation in which people must be intentional about their actions. Anytime I visit a school or business, I hand out fliers to encourage this process and remind people that their actions can make a difference.


Letters for Change: by Meg Lane

         Children may have their needs met at school, but for many that is not the case at home. Some of these children work while not in school to help put food on the table.  This underage labor occurs all across the globe, even in our own backyards.  Among many other things, North Carolina is ranked number one in the nation for tobacco production.  North Carolina’s labor laws regarding age restriction are applied to all industries with the exception of agriculture.  Thus, children as young as ten years old are legally able to work on farms with parental consent, though there have been cases reported with children as young as six working in the fields. 

         As an intern in a fifth grade classroom, it broke my heart to think that any of my kids could potentially go home and have to go straight to work in tobacco fields.  The health risks alone are concerning, not to mention the stress such labor may put on children and their academics.  This needs to end now. 

Through personal and professional connections, I started a letter-writing campaign to inform and persuade legislators to create more regulated age restrictions in the agriculture industry.  Everyone from the local mayor, to state governors, to presidential candidates will receive a letter.  Writing a letter is so simple, and anyone can do it.  A letter alone will not change legislation, but it will get the ball rolling.  In time, the suggestions you proposed in your letter could become law.  If you have an issue that needs to be addressed, send a letter to your local governor!  Let them know what’s going on, why it’s important, and how they can help.

Resources
Cox, J. (n.d.). How to motivate students by letting them choose books. Retrieved March 27, 2016, from http://www.teachhub.com/how-motivate-students-letting-them-choose-books
-       This website offers insight into how allowing children to pick their books can have a positive impact on them academically.

Stump, S. L., Bryan, J. A., & McConnell, T. J. (2016). Making STEM Connections. The Mathematics Teacher, 109(8), 576-583. Retrieved April 9, 2016, from http://www.jstor.org.liblink.uncw.edu/stable/pdf/10.5951/mathteacher.109.8.0576.pdf
-       This website shows the importance of teaching children science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  (NOTE: available by LOG IN only.)

Williams, D. C. (n.d.). Dropout prevention and intervention. Retrieved March 27, 2016, from http://www.dpi.state.nc.us/dropout/
-       The website has statistics from North Carolina about dropout numbers and why students are dropping out of school.

-       This document has resources for after school programs, bibliotherapy books and lesson plans.

Child Labor Fact Sheet. (2012). Retrieved May 02, 2016, from
-        This is a quick fact sheet on Child Labor in North Carolina.  Statistics and solutions are described with detail. 

Writing to Your Legislators. (2015). Retrieved May 03, 2016, from http://www.nea.org/home/19657.htm
-       This is a helpful guide with tips and tricks on making the most out of your letter to government officials.  It also has addresses for Congress members.
        
-       This is the flier created for Communities Helping to Affect a New Generation of Education (CHANGE).


References

At Risk Youth Programs. (n.d.). Information on At Risk Youth Statistics. Retrieved May 1, 2016, from
Boys and Girls Clubs of America. (2016). Retrieved May 1, 2016, from
Community Boys and Girls Club of Wilmington. (2016, April 29). Personal Interview.

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