LINDEN—Approximately 700 students in grades six through eight, 70 faculty/staff members, and a student leadership collation of 35 students from several school clubs, led by teachers Kevin LaMastra, Michael D’Amato, and Sylvia Smith, of the Soehl Middle School in Linden, will employ a $10,000 grant from the NJEA Frederick L. Hipp Foundation for Excellence in Education to implement Project 2015: Youth Led Social Action for Global Change.
Student will take a pre-project survey to gauge knowledge and attitudes related to tolerance, cultural diversity in the community and global issues addressed in the United Nation’s eight Millennium Goals. A representative group of students will be selected to create the project leadership team. These students will travel to New York to receive leadership training from organizations affiliated with the United Nations.
Project members will interact through video conferencing with students in developing countries and collaborate to create a youth voiced declaration and plan of action related to the elimination of extreme poverty and the promotion of human rights. Guest speakers will share first hand experiences related to organizing for social actions.
Students will host a series of events benefiting all students, parents. and faculty, such as an interactive craft fair, with artifacts made from post-consumer recycled materials created by artisans living in extreme poverty. Students will use art and technology to create materials to inspire peers to awareness and action. Student work will be displayed in a gallery setting.
The student-led human rights conference will be the culminating activity where students will organize presentations as part of a conference schedule where other students can participate in a variety of topics such as the environment, global migration, child labor, HIV/AIDS, children and war, youth empowerment, and emerging issues of interests to the student. An end of project celebration will include a visit to an art exhibit at the United Nations and a luncheon in New York.
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