I am the International Baccalaureate coordinator at Locke Elementary.
Locke is a Chicago Public School on the city's northwest side with 88% low-income students and 90% minority students. One of the greatest joys that I have as the coordinator is seeing the number of students who take action as a result of their learning. My students have participated in numerous community and city-wide community service projects that have raised thousands of dollars for different charities, green team projects, neighborhood programs, etc. It is extremely encouraging to see how although many of my students lack financial stability, they are quick to think of others first and lend a helping hand to better their community.
My school is an International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme school for grades 6-8. One of the major components of the IB philosophy and curriculum is service and action. Our students are required to perform 15 hours of community service each school year. Unfortunately, some of our students do not complete these hours because of the limited opportunities in our neighborhood. Many of my students are not able to go to other parts of the city to perform community service because of a lack of transportation, money, parental involvement, etc. It is my responsibility, as the coordinator, to provide students with as many community service opportunities as possible.
One major issue that plagues our community is the amount of waste that surrounds the school.
Our school has a green team that performs monthly cleaning around the school but does not traverse into surrounding city blocks because of the lack of resources. Currently, the only resources we have to pick up trash is disposable gloves and garbage bags. Unfortunately, sometimes we have to cancel because we run out of garbage bags. Many parents do not like that their child has to pick up garbage with their hands, hence the needs for garbage reachers.
Currently, our green team has ten students, which is a minuscule number for the number of students we have in 6th-8th grade (around 425 students). I want to expand the green team to around 30 students and designate bi-weekly days to clean the neighborhood. The plan is to have 60 different students rotate on a bi-weekly basis to pick up trash around the school. Instead of just picking up trash around the school, we will expand to a four-block radius. This will have a profound impact on our school, community, and students.
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