There is a lot of literature out there about action. It is pretty easy to pull a quote instantaneously that can inspire and ignite thought. This quote above has always stood out to me though. I think it’s important to remind ourselves where revolution and social change starts. It starts with an idea. For Ms. Jess’s class of 8th grade girls from Stephen Decatur Middle School, one seemingly insignificant thought, launched an action plan to be developed that will change the social culture of their school for years to come.
While in their Action class, the girls were asked to discuss issues that concern them in their community and school and ways they can take action. We discussed having conflict with other people in their community and utilizing filters in their lives (ie. parents, teachers, friends etc.) to help them work through those challenges.
At this point, a few girls brought up a concern about trash in their community. Most of the class agreed that this was something that they all experienced. We asked the girls what they could do to take action to resolve this problem. The first response was to “pick it up” and as educators at NorthBay, we hear this solution all the time. It is something that has been emphasized again and again to our youth. However, cleaning up the mess isn’t always the best solution. Sometimes, changing the habit is the only way to truly resolve a problem.
The next suggestion from the class was to teach people why it is important to recycle and throw trash away properly. A suggestion to change the habit. A suggestion to spark social change in their school community.
This began a brainstorming and planning session for a “Go Green” Club at their school. They set a goal to develop a recycling system in their cafeteria by the end of the school year. The two teachers in the class volunteered to be filters to help organize the club and find donations and supplies. Three classmates were nominated to be leaders for the group, in charge of organization, advertising, and student morale. By the end of the class, Ms. Jess and I exchanged information with the students and teachers and encouraged them to keep us informed about their successes! We were excited at the thought of visiting these students at their school and witnessing this plan in ACTION! And to think, it all started with one simple observation.
NorthBay Educators – Jen Pecor & Jess Behnke
NorthBay Stories is a blog series featuring NorthBay staff in various positions within our organization. Here we learn their stories, hear amazing anecdotes involving students, and discuss the field of environmental/character education at large.