5–10/12, Your ideas

For this week, I’d like you to begin sharing your ideas for your projects. As you know, developing an effective service project or organization takes time and careful consideration. Let’s begin this process by sharing your ideas with each other and giving each other feedback.

DEADLINE 1: By Thursday @ 10:50am (10/13), summarize your project for us in 2-4 paragraphs. We need to know at least:

  1. who is being served,
  2. what is/are their need(s),
  3. what you think is causing that/those need(s), and
  4. some of the ways you propose to solve that/those need(s).

DEADLINE 2: By Friday @ 10:50am (10/14), give feedback to  one other student who has not yet received feedback (if all students have received feedback, you can select anyone). You can earn 1 “bonus” point for giving good, developed feedback to 2 students if your feedback for both is complete. Your feedback should include an Inquiry and provide the other student with constructive criticism (useful and appropriate suggestions/support that does not tear him/her down or focus solely on negatives or positives).

I look forward to reading about your ideas and projects!

24 thoughts on “5–10/12, Your ideas

  1. For my project I want to focus on hunger in the Fort Worth area. This has been a topic I’ve been passionate about since 8th grade when I wrote a ted talk about hunger for Mrs. Harper’s class. At that time in my life I was about to go on a mission trip to Haiti where I would see sights and experiences that no one would ever be able to understand unless they saw it themselves. The magnitude of the issue of hunger in Haiti is unlike anything in America. To compare the two countries would be impossible, but hunger still greatly affects America in different ways. In my research in 8th grade I got connected with the Food Bank and was invited to a luncheon where other social innovators who specialize in hunger spoke. Although that was 4 years ago, Hunger is still very important in my life.
    I go to church at Southside Church of Christ, which is church on the Southside of town in a very poverty stricken area. For some the location of the church may scare them away but I’ve always loved the diversity of it. Throughout my life I have seen the areas around my church change drastically. With the popularization of Magnolia Street many yuppies have moved in and torn down the older houses building big nice houses pushing out the people who originally lived there because they can’t afford housing anymore. Those who stay not have to pay higher taxes which they couldn’t afford in the first place and have no way to buy food for their families. Southside has a weekly food and clothing pantry that has been going on for decades. They provide these services for free for those who can prove they truly need it.
    Every Tuesday I’ve had off since I was little I would try to get up there and volunteer. Whether I was riding the big old blue school bus with my sister to Mrs. Baird’s bread where we would take the day old breads back to hand out and take a couple powdered donuts for ourselves, or if it was spending my thanksgiving break packing and passing out food bags for those who couldn’t celebrate thanksgiving with their family on their own, I’ve always felt like I was making a difference in these peoples lives because of how happy and grateful they were for our service.
    Since reading Charity Detox my mindset has shifted. Although I think Lupton isn’t the nicest guy in the entire world and find him very insensitive, I understand his points. Pantry creates unhealthy dependencies for these people because they always know that on Tuesday they will be getting more food. Clearly if it’s been going on for decades and we’ve been seeing the same people for years, we are not actually fixing the problem instead hurting those were serving.
    For my project I want to research ways I can help influence the food pantry at my church to be more effective at ending hunger instead of contributing to the issues that cause hunger. Lupton says by asking those to pay a small fee it would make them feel like they are worth something. How can you get people to pay for the services they’ve been receiving for years for free? If they clearly don’t have enough money to buy food for themselves, can you expect them to be able to pay for it at a food pantry? If they can’t pay for the service would it be a good option to be able to work for the program and in return get food and clothes?


    1. Dear Sarah,
      I love the idea of influencing your local church to be more effective in ending hunger. However, do not set aside the research in what contributes to the issues that cause hunger. Using Haiti for an example; Haiti cause for their poverty is based off of pure racism, countries in Africa as well. Once you know the root causes that create world hunger, then you can start taking action. I would also like to address the other question brought up about the people in need giving money to the charity. This is where in-dependency is a necessity. I believe that once people can be self- sufficient, then they should be able to give back to the community. In that sense people who come out of the charity successful, have a job to give back to the people in need.
      Hope that helps, do you think maybe asking someone who has been in that position will help you in this dilemma. I think so.


    2. Sarah,
      I think you have chosen the right project for you–you have a personal history and genuine (and spiritual–think TVS Mission #4) connection with this organization, and you seem to care deeply about helping end hunger in this area of FW. This is a critical start!

      I think that you and Ashia have hit on some key questions, especially regarding dependency and root causes. I’d like you to think more about those: are there ways other than paying for the recipients to participate in the process and feel more dignified and respected; are there new programs that could be put in place to end their dependency on free handouts; and what are some of the reasons that they require food and clothing from your church? You begin to address the issue of dependency and dignity-loss in your outline that you wrote on the board the other day, but your project will need to lay out a specific details explaining exactly how you would tackle each problem.

      I would also like you to consider which problem(s) you are suggesting you will solve: is it that the church’s current structure is less effective than it can be (and that’s the problem) OR is it that you want to end hunger for as many people in the Southside as you can? Perhaps by solving the first, you will solve the second, but you need to be clear on that.

      Excellent start! I can’t wait to see the final project.


  2. ACH Child and Family Services mission is to provide positive influence, skill and safe surroundings to children struggling with domestic issues in order to develop solutions that create safety, hope, love and the capacity to thrive. Inspired by ACH Child and Family Services, my project will strive to bring the necessary resources to children struggling with life challenges. In hope, this will create a safe environment for children to come and receive help in a place where they can feel safe and protected by trustworthy people. ACH is an organizations that correspond with the “safe place” signs that are put up all around the community. This provides a safe place for a runaway child/teens to go in order to stay off the streets over-night, which can be a major issue for young males and females. A police report statistic states that it only takes a 48 hour period of living on the street for a child to be approached about entering the human trafficking or prostitution ring. These safe place signs could be the only thing standing between a child being forced to enter these horrific situations and a safe place to stay before entering the ACH homes. This organization, to me, addresses more than one issue for children. It also confronts the issue of why children are running away from their homes in the first place.

    Texas alone has about 66, 721 adolescent victims of abuse in their homes.Texas is very common for it’s runaways. Statistics show that children runaway form their homes due to being victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault. These children end up on the street where issues of trafficking and prostitution, as I stated before, arise. Other programs/organizations such as O.U.R. try to pursue this issue from the inside in order to save children from these hostile situations, but ACH works mainly in Fort Worth. This organization not only helps set up safe environments for kids, but also gets them councilors and proper education with other kids who are going through similar situations. These runaways are administered from their adolescent years all the way up until their college and after college years. The program officially stops at the age of 21 when the child has gotten a job and are able to support themselves efficiently. ACH is an organization that I would call effective because of how long it’s been growing and expanding in size and idea. ACH has been open since 1915 or 101 years and has efficiently been saving kids since then. ACH has many excellent programs, even an adoption agency to help find the children better and safer homes.

    The goal of my project is to connect schools, like TVS, with organizations such as ACH to possibly help save the lives of many children in need. Most of the “safe place” signs are put up at gas stations, which may seem great, but can also cause conflict. A child suffering from domestic violence, on the streets, may not feel safe walking into a gas station for help, this is where schools kick in. If schools, like TVS, partnered with the ACH organization and put up “safe place” signs at the school then kids could be more likely to come there for help and add another place for kids to feel safe. Children may not feel safe around random adults from a gas station, but maybe around other kids. If we got schools to partner with this organization it could open a new horizon in order to get kids into a safe place and with a better future. Kids are more likely to come to and feel safer in a surrounding of other kids who are in a safe environment. This idea may seem simple, but as more schools catch on the more kids feel safe and the more our society fights back on issues like sex trafficking and prostitution.


    1. Wisdom,
      I am also very passionate about solving this issue of child abuse, so I think that this is an amazing idea. What is actually really cool is that a lot of schools are considered safe places. If any teacher suspects child abuse they are required to report it and there are usually social workers at each school to be there for the kids that need help. Most schools, even if they were not considered safe places, would also be 100% willing to help out the student. Yes, I agree that schools would be a great place for this, but you need to think about which school would pick. What locations would benefit most? Why does this school make a good fit? I feel like choosing schools like TVS or FWCD would not work well just because of where we are in Fort Worth. They are both based in a more wealthy area of town, so it would probably not be as productive over here. I am not saying that wealthy families do not experience abuse, but I also believe that these families would have a better knowledge of what to do in the situation. Pairing schools in poorer neighborhoods like Crowley would probably have a better outcome. Overall I think that this is a really great idea, you just need to think about which schools to chose.


      1. Molly,
        I am glad that you also recognize this issue of abuse within our community. I agree with you on choosing certain schools that should connect with ACH. In order to solve this issue I would need to look more into a certain district instead of just Fort Worth alone. Location is a key factor in this project/idea, but with a little more research I think this could be a smart move for schools, children and the community. I understand what you mean; although TVS is a great school that would be willing to help maybe the location would not get the strong and helpful results I am hoping for. Underprivileged schooling systems may lead my to poverty stricken homes, which could possibly lead to more issues like abuse. Thank you for your suggestions and feedback, I will look into them and hopefully come up with a better and more effective plan.


    2. Wisdom,
      This is indeed an important and great cause, and I’m glad to see your excitement as you work through this. I can tell that you are genuinely interested in finding solutions to child abuse.

      The outline you wrote on the board is more specific about the kinds of problems you wish to solve (teen runaways & child/teen abuse victims). That’s good, because it’s much easier to address one problem than a host of issues. Solutions are likely to be more feasible and more effective. However, what you listed as a solution on the board (connecting ACH to approved “Safe place” schools in specific locations) does not directly correlate with all of the root causes you wrote (sexual & other assault, domestic abuse, unsafe/unfit homes). Though, your proposed solution does directly affect the problem of abused teens with “no place to go”.

      I suggest that you take your own advice below (based on Mollie’s feedback) and find specific areas that you think would be most powerful to target and that you consider which problem(s) you wish to solve and propose ways to solve them directly. For example, how does a ‘”safe school” end abuse in the home? Also, consider how these children can receive services without becoming dependent on them? How could they be involved in the system in a positive way so as to give and receive?

      Great start! I look forward to seeing your final project.


  3. When thinking to myself about what charities I thought were my favorite, the first thing that came to mind was the Boys and Girls Club of America. After visiting, this sparked my interest into helping the youth of communities in need. As of now, I have this idea of creating a non profit organization that takes young adults off the streets of poor communities and helps get them into working for money but also experience of independancy .The catch is that I would be the one to pay them for the hours they work and not the work place. Once the authorities check off on the hours the kid would be paid, using the money to help their family and using the experience to gain knowledge for future higher paying jobs.

    What causes the problems for the kids in the first place can be a few reasons. 1- They do not have the educational background to apply for special jobs. 2- The family doesn’t have the money in the first place to provide assistance so the kid can apply for well paying jobs. This non profit in the making would be the center place for all young adults. We would have resources needed to apply for jobs and would search around for manual labor jobs that kids can get without extensive educational background. Once the kids work for the assigned worker, we would give them the money. The business would not because it probably wouldn’t be able to afford another worker. If the kids are invested into making a change in their life by working out of their circumstances, we as a charity would further our assistance with the individuals by helping them apply to greater well paying jobs because of their shown work ethic and now experience in the work force. This would be the way we transfer them from our organization into becoming self sufficient, hoping to help themselves and their families become more stable in life.


    1. Sawyer,
      This is a great idea! One question I have is whether this organization would take away some jobs for other people. If companies could hire young adults for free, would they fire other adults who need the job to pay for their families? At the same time, companies probably would not hire the inexperienced young adults if they had to pay them. And as you mentioned, the companies may not be able to afford more workers. Perhaps providing “free” labor would also lower the cost of the company’s product, and I’m not sure if that would be good or bad. I really like the idea though. It is a great way to give the young adults experience so they can get better jobs in the future. I also like that it creates independency by having the young adults work at a real job so that they can support themselves, even if the money is coming from your organization. Would the young adults find these jobs themselves, or would the company have a list of jobs from companies that have agreed to hire young adults? I really like this organization and will probably send you some of the young adults from my families.


    2. Sawyer,
      I’ve enjoyed watching the wheels turn in your head as you figure out how you’d like to improve our community. This idea is novel, and I think it could be great! Empowering people with decent paying job opportunities that also provide experience, skillets, and connections is a very practical tool for offsetting poverty.

      Meredith makes some great suggestions and poses a good question. I think there are solutions to those problems, though, and I look forward to seeing how you solve them. As you continue this journey, I’m sure you’ll come across new problems too, such as how do the young adults get to work? Forming an organization like this takes lots of thought, trial, and error. Give yourself plenty of time to work those out.

      I like the way you developed this further with your outline on the board, especially how the benefit of this program extends to the child’s family, not just the child her/himself. If done properly, as you claimed on the board, this program could lead to self-sufficiency, thus ending dependency.

      How else would you address the question someone wrote on the board, “What do you want the donators to get out donations?” Could they play a more active role (other than just giving money)?….

      One last thought: what about making this a for-profit company? What would that look like, and would it be more effective than a non-profit?

      I can’t wait to see how this project turns out!


  4. For my project I would like to develop an organization in Fort Worth that would teach stable families how to help poor families. Often families want to help their poor friends but do not know how to do so. My mom is an example of this. She wants to help her poor friend, but she does not know how. I think there are more people like this in Fort Worth who want to help but do not know the best way to go about it. The root cause of this is a lack of experience of being poor and a lack of education on how to help effectively. My organization will provide this education. It will teach stable families how to help poor families without creating dependence and damaging their dignity. It will also teach them what not to do, which could include consistently pay the poor family’s rent or treat them like you are superior. It will also teach them the basics of how to manage finances and find employment so that they may help their poor friends. My organization will also help the families find organizations in their community if more specific and detailed help is needed.
    By teaching stable families who want to help the most effective way to do so, my organization will reach poor families that might otherwise not be reached. With their knowledge of finances the stable families will be able to help their poor friends in the long-term. They can help them find good jobs and reach a place of stability. By teaching families how to help others, my organization will help the community help itself.


    1. Meredith,
      I think the idea of your organization is incredible. So many successful families see poor families that mirror them almost exact but have had an unlucky life. Poverty is a cycle and when poor people have kids many times those kids run into many bad situations, hungry, health issues, lack of education, probability of going to jail and most of these kids end right back out on the street. It’s important for families who face poverty to learn how to educate their children and give them as many opportunities they can to escape the cycle of poverty.
      But a main issue with an organization like this is, Can a stable family help a poor family without giving them money? Although money would help them get them off their feet, many times donors get drawn into providing all the money impoverished people need to find work, eat, dress nicely, have housing. Poor families could almost take advantage of the wealthy without meaning to.
      Would it be more successful if the organization goes directly to the families and educated them rather than through wealthy families who then educate poor families? I feel by doing it in the way you mentioned in your answer may create a accidental hierarchy where the wealthy feels above the poor and vice versa. Maybe donors could give money to an organization of people who were trained to work with families and could educate them directly, which would make it more effective.


    2. Meredith,
      You’re beginning with an idea very close to personal experience, and that can provide the passion you need to make it a good one. On the other hand, it can also make it hard to see the bigger picture.

      The first question I had as I read this and looked at your outline on the board is: are you attempting to solve the “wrong” problem? Would it be more effective to focus on how to end poverty for more families than to help the “stable” (I like that word, by the way) help those in great need? How you answer this will affect everything about your organization.

      Sarah asks a great question, and I’m curious to know how you’d reply. You propose to address that in the education you give the stable family, but HOW will you address that? The relationship will already be unbalanced, even without addressing financial stability difference, because one family will be telling (helping?) the other learn how to live their lives better. How can you provide opportunities to reverse that unbalanced power dynamic? What will the families in need give? Also, consider how you will address dependency issues from this relationship?

      To begin answering these questions, I suggest that you imagine what it would look like. Pretend that your family was selected for this program. What would the meetings between families look like, where would they meet, what would they talk about…? Now envision that relationship over many months. What’s the conclusion? How do the families know that the “problem” is solved? . . .

      You’ve chosen an exciting idea, and I look forward to seeing how it unfolds over the next few months (and years?)


  5. When asked what I can do for my community, the first question I ask myself is, “What am I good at?”. Then I ask, “What am I passionate about?”. After some thinking, I usually arrive at the same conclusion: debate, public speaking, and having conversations. I ask myself these set of questions, because I want my service project to be something I personally am passionate about, so that my enthusiasm translates into devotion while executing the project.
    With this in mind, my project will be grounded in developing public speaking, rhetorical, and conversational skills to teenagers from underserved background through encouraging involvement in speech and debate as an activity. Participating in debate as an activity, travelling on a team, and competing at local and national tournaments afforded me with great confidence in myself as a student, intellectual, and advocate. I feel that this sort of recognition is valuable, especially to high school students on the verge of dropping out and giving up. It definitely a fun activity that is challenging but rewarding. Also the sense of community is something that is empowering and that I found particularly significant about the activity in itself. The encouragement from such an intellectually and personally stimulating activity would stir some of these demoralized students to avail themselves to greater opportunities or overcome academic obstacles.
    So how exactly would streamline these kids into the activity itself and have compete in tournaments? It begins with awareness, deconstructing the false notion that debate is only a high stress and draining activity that is not fun at all. My project would aim to deliver a presentation about the activity itself at local schools in Fort Worth, which is a city that lacks involvement in the extracurricular of debate, highlighting the fun, value, and sense of community that characterizes the activity. Not only would I give presentations, but also talk with individuals 1 on 1 and have an affective commitment to their success. I would listen to their problems and suggest that they become part of a supportive community and enter a space that is comforting and enlightening. I seek to resolve the hopelessness and dejection within students that is rooted in suppressed feelings and problems. I seek to resolve this by demonstrating that debate can be the activity to let free the explosive capacities of their mind.


    1. Hae Seong,
      I think it is great that you were not only able to find an issue that needs assistant throughout the community, but also combine it with something that you are passionate about and have experience with. I love that your idea focuses on children and teens and empowering the new generation with knowledge and skills that will be used throughout their lives. Under-privileged students that live in poverty stricken homes often only get the education that is deemed necessary, so other skills/talents, like speaking and arts, are left out. I, myself, struggle with public speaking, but love to spark a conversation so this could also help kids to connect and make new friends. Our new generation is very important to reach out to and better in anyway we can, that’s why I feel that your idea is such a vital and necessary one. This activity, like you said, will be a fun one that also teaches the kids to think on a higher level and become better at their conversational skills. Ideas like yours will give lower privileged students more opportunities and a better their chances at succeeding not only in their studies, but also in their later years in life. I wonder though, without debate, do you think all schools should have programs on intellectual conversational skills? I believe that programs like these in all schools would really give each student a boost in their later college and adult life. If so, do you believe, besides debate and speech, TVS effectively teaches these necessary conversational skills?


      1. Wisdom,
        I’m glad you recognized the value of picking a project that you personally are passionate about and acknowledging that some set of skills such as public speaking often gets left behind. I think the best place to tackle the vicious cycle of poverty would be at where it somewhat begins, which is in childhood. As you mentioned, a lack of education makes breaking out of this cycle impossible, as the number of opportunities one can pursue dwindles. The question you asked was a particularly important one about whether having conversations classes would be beneficial. I think this would very much so be advantageous for the children and better prepare them to tackle on the “real world.” This specific type of education is so important, because it is no longer sufficient to look “good on paper” when applying to admissions for a college, university, or job. To break out of the cycle of poverty, Lupton mentions and we generally agreed in class that individuals need to become employed, and I think the best way to ensure this employment is to provide a practical set of skills that are very much so necessary in becoming a strong applicant. With this in mind, I ask you, how would these classes look like? How do you best not only teach public speaking/conversational skills but also instill confidence within these kids? It is very much so difficult to “teach” public speaking or conversational skills, because it is definitely not something learned from reading a textbook. It is best learned through practice and practical use of the skills just like anything, which is why going to speech and debate tournaments where there are conversations about real world policies, issues, and etc. is valuable. This is seen by the fact that TVS doesn’t have a TOE class (or at least I hope it doesn’t) but we go to different places in nature to truly experience what it is like being outdoors and having a sense of community. Spending a week out in Big Bend with your classmates is probably more valuable to “teach” teamwork, companionship, and independence than a 45-minute class every day about the importance of nature and unity. For this reason, I see the best use of these classes being preparation for upcoming tournaments or events where kids will actually gain the skills needed to tackle on a world and job market that craves strong, articulate advocates.


    2. Hae Seong,

      When I first saw this outlined on the board, I was not as convinced about its meaningfulness and broader effectiveness. You describe it more clearly and more powerfully here. Well done!

      Wisdom’s comments were helpful here (and you addressed her questions well and proposed your own inquiry that I think you tackled well, too). Did you see what others wrote on the board? One noted that debate skills could also lead to a broader understanding of how the world works (expanding their general knowledge). I assume this is due to the preparation one does before a debate. Perhaps you could develop that. Someone else advised working with “professional debate coaches/teachers.” What do you think about these ideas?

      As a suggestion, would you consider meeting the directors of Hope Farm and putting your dream into place this year? http://www.hopefarminc.org check out the Web site, and let me know what you think.

      I very much look forward to seeing your final project!


  6. For my service project, I want to focus on improving Camp Impact and the lives of the Camp Impact families. At Camp Impact, kids from Women’s Shelters or just lower socioeconomic situations are bused to a Girl Scout camp in Arlington everyday for a week of fun. However, the camp not only impacts the kids, but the counselors and the parents as well. During meals, we try to teach the kids how to set a table, serve food, and have overall good table manners. After the week is through, we often have parents contact us saying how their child is excited and willing to set the table, help serve, etc. These parents are also impacted by the change of personality their children have. Most of the kids come into camp shy and nervous, but by the end of the first or second day, they are almost too energetic to keep up with. On the last day, the parents will give the counselors huge hugs and tell us how much they appreciate the work we put in to help their child. As counselors, we are also impacted, maybe even more than the campers. Throughout the week, we hear the kids’ stories and learn from them. As a counselor you learn to appreciate everything that you have and learn not to take things for granted.

    A majority of our kids come from a school called Bonham Elementary. Bonham is part of GPISD, one of the poorer school districts. About 80% of the students in the district are on a free or reduced lunch plan due to their parents’ low income. For most of these families, they are just in need of better jobs. The parents are hard working and do the best they can to care for their kids. Unfortunately, they are incapable of getting higher paying jobs because of a lack of education. As I was talking to Dr. Roemer about this issue the thought came to me that there is not really an opportunity for adults to go back to high school and get the more basic level of education. Yes, there are GEDs and Community Colleges that offer cheap tuition, but what if you actually have zero income and can’t even afford that? What if there was public high school, but for adults? Most public high schools do not let students in that are over 19, so it would be almost impossible for that to happen. However, if the state school systems would allow, I believe that a public high school for adults would be very beneficial. This school could incorporate actual high school classes along with real world classes on job searching or money management. At the end of the year(s), the adult would not only have their high school diploma, they would be ready for real life experiences.

    The rest of the kids that come to Camp Impact are kids that are living in shelters. Some of these shelters are normal homeless shelters, but some are Women’s Shelters, a place where abused women and children go to hide. For the families living in homeless shelters, the adult schooling system would probably be beneficial, but for the abused women and children, it is a very different situation. When Child Protective Services are called, they respond as quickly as possible. Often, they show up at the house, give the children a few minutes to pack and are out of there extremely quickly. The children must leave behind their toys, clothing, and familiar home. For these children, and whoever is with them, the only way to help is by making them feel safe. You can’t solve their problem unless the abuser is locked up, and that is definitely out of my control. To help this group of kids, I want to collect clothing, shoes, and toys, anything that would make the kids feel happy. This part of the project I know is going to happen because I am already working on getting it approved (so start saving up clothing). However, by doing this clothing drive it may seem like I am going back to the handouts situation that Lupton so greatly despises. To avoid this, I want to get the adults involved. Whether it is by helping sort clothing or passing things out, this will get them involved. As for the kids, just having them pick out what they want makes them feel important.

    As for improving Camp Impact, we are going to pretend it is a perfect world. Right now, camp is only 8 hours a day, for five days. While the week is absolutely exhausting already, it would be amazing if it could be longer. At Camp Jenny, a camp in Georgia, there is a similar program to Camp Impact except it is only a weekend and the kids spend the night. I would love to pull ideas from Camp Jenny and have this same overnight concept but for a longer period of time. Unfortunately, there are so many rules and safety precautions with some of our campers it is almost impossible to make this happen. There is also the issue of money. Each year, we are able to raise enough to run camp, but there is rarely much left over. This year, our goal is to raise enough money to run camp, and also buy a pair of shoes for each camper. This is a crazy goal, let alone making camp longer. But, if money was not an issue, and it was a perfect world, I would love to work to make Camp Impact a two-week camp, or a one-week sleep away camp. Though this would take a lot more work from the counselors, I think that if would make a greater impact on everyone.


    1. Mollie,
      I really like your idea of creating a public high school for adults! I agree that it would be very beneficial for getting a good job and I particularly like the idea of teaching life skills, such as how to manage money. The only problem I see is how the parents could go back to school and still provide for their family. Would you propose an organization for this too? There could already be one like that. I found one blog that was offering advice for someone whose husband wanted to go back to college but couldn’t support their family. One person suggested using the child care at the university to allow the mother to also work. Perhaps having a child care service with the high school could help? This is the link although only a couple parts were helpful, http://www.back2college.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=449.
      I also really like the clothing drive idea. Having the adults help sort the clothing seems like a good way to create independence. I also like the idea of making Camp Impact a two-week camp, even though this would be difficult. I go to a summer camp called Pine Cove and I have always gone for one week until this past year. This summer I went for two weeks and it impacted me so much more than just going for one week. You have so many good ideas!


    2. Mollie,
      You have obviously chosen something near and dear to your heart, and I have no doubt that you will create a great program proposal. And, I’m excited that you are already putting some of these plans into place!

      You got some good feedback from Meredith and Sawyer, so be sure to consider these. Also, someone commented on your outline on the board about whether the clothing/toy drive would make a “big difference” for the families/children you aim to help. I think they’re getting at a similar question to what I have: if “sadness and poverty” are the 2 main problems you are trying to solve, how do some of these programs solve them?

      My suggestion at this point is to step back and look at the big picture. You propose several problems and a number of solutions, but it’s not clear how which solutions address which problems. Also, I’d like you to design something in which money is no object. So, if Camp Impact would be MOST effective as an after school program during the school year and all-summer day camp during the summer, plan for that. If your families need an adult high school, plan that. If you want to address the mothers and children in abusive homes, plan for that. If you could make a clothing drive the most effective clothing drive ever, what would you do?

      Or, focus on just some of those and make them detailed, thoughtful, and feasible.

      The sky is the limit, and you can design an organization that addresses each of these (because I can see how they’re all related). It will be up to you to make these connections clear and to convince us that your approach to these problems will be effective, meaningful, and sustainable.

      I can’t wait to see how this unfolds!


  7. Meredith, I like the idea of this project. This kind of like the non profit I was thinking of but you are working with families and I am working with young adults. The only problem I might suggest is, how will you find families to work with? Or will families that want to help out the needed come to you with specific families in mind already? Just make sure that the sulutions you give to the families will help the needed for their future. Finances and finding employment are big ones in my mind that will help these families. Over all the idea is great because financially stable families should try to help out families in need and make a difference when they can!

    When dealing with finding families or the right families, I would suggest having the best of both worlds, while working with the city government to find the specific neighborhoods in need. You should have an open door policy where families in need can come in and have open minds for changing their lives. Also you should let families wanting to help come in and get the education they need for families they are close to, like you mom and the girl from McDonalds. This way, anyone wanting to actually help or change their own lives can, but knowing they have to show that they are committed to keep receiving this help.


  8. I want to announce the elephant in the room. African Americans have been oppressed, discriminated, and dehumanized for far too long. Action needs to be taken into effect. Black protests happening in America are because African Americans are trying to show that there is a major problem in America, a problem that has to be talked about. It is an uncomfortable situation, but this problem has stemmed from way back in American History. To ignore this problem will only make things worst in America and create tension between people of color and white people. Therefore I propose a solution that will benefit the African American community. This solution will hopefully cause positive short term and long term effects in the black community.
    The issue I am trying to solve is economic and political insecurity led by an educational setback caused by institutional racism. For a people to thrive and be successful in society, they need to have a better education system and be economically prosperous. Instead, African Americans as a whole have been systematically held back from pursuing economic and political prosperity. For the American people to not face the facts is an inappropriate response to the nationwide division. My solution to the American nightmare is the creation of STEM programs, a year round class in African American History, and self-worth charities. This will cause prosperity inside the black communities and keep the money inside the community.


    1. Ashia,
      You have chosen an important cause, and it’s clear that you care deeply about it. That’s a great catalyst for doing good in the world!

      What you have here is an idea, but I need to know much more before I can make specific suggestions.

      Be sure that you make it clear how each of your solutions (STEM programs, classes on African American History, and self-worth charities–please elaborate) is addressing each problem. The problems you claim to address are “economic and political insecurity led by an educational setback caused by institutional racism”. I’m sure there will be overlap, but take the time to clarify those relationships and elaborate. For example, I can imagine how having every US student learn more about African American history would address institutional racism, but you will need to provide details concerning exactly what they need to study and why, how it would become required in schools, etc.

      I can’t wait to see how your project develops over time!


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