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We will purchase school supplies/clothing. They will be distributed to our students throughout the school year.
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The La Mesa homeless community gathers weekly for a meal and church service. We will make and distribute kits each week and follow up to see how they are being used and gather information about needs for future kits. Students will supply ziplock bags, chapstick and bandanas, and we hope to use a grant or donations to purchase sunscreen and hats.
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Using a wide variety of dried fruit (figs, dates, apples, raisin, etc.), cherrios, and natural hemp string, we made about 60 necklaces. These were sent to Chimps, Inc, a chimpanzee sanctuary in Bend, Oregon.
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We started by learning about how our vast populations of people have polluted the oceans. In the process we learned about how all life on earth is dependent on our oceans being healthy and in balance. The focus quickly went to the impact of plastics, looking at waste of plastic bags and straws. Through the Students Rebuild project, each "sea creature" we created was result in $2 being donated to protecting and cleaning our oceans. We made hundreds of mostly origami sea creatures, including whales, angel fish, sea anemones, clam shells, and jelly fish.
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This year we have made 4 trips to Nana Cardoon, one in the Fall and three this Spring. Our Spring trips were in April and May. We are looking at how nature changes with the seasons. One of our focuses this year was the role that soil plays in growing plants. Each visit we have done activities that help builds quality soil. As well as observing and exploring, we have planted potatoes and corn, and helped remove invasive English Ivy. We even learned to weave the ivy into baskets, making something useful from it. We have made various flat breads from grain grown at the farm, made tortilla of 3 colors of corn, made tabbouleh salad with dandelion greens, and short cake for a strawberry feast! We have explored changes in the garden, the role of pollinators, as well as methods of recycling, including vermiculture (worms). We also used the sun to cook delicious banana bread. Our visits have ended with a group meal, enjoying our food creations. The results have been tasty. For our final visit, we had a strawberry feast with cooked pound cake. This was our celebration of a successful year!
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We will do send out a Survey Monkey to members of our community to evaluate their knowledge about the dangers of pesticides and hormones in our children's diets. We will assess how children feel eating a typical diet that contains GMO's, hormones, and pesticide treated fruits and vegetables. We will educate the families to change their food purchases and eating habits. At the end of our campaign we would resend the survey to evaluate the change in knowledge as well as the change in health of the members.
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Our project is to provide learning tools to our students. This will help them socially and educationally. We will distribute school supplies to those in need.
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For the past four years, I have been introduced to and prepared for fast technological acceleration in the world. However, I have recognized a lack of equity for historically underrepresented groups (specifically females and ethnically and racially diverse people) in STEM. In response to a lack of passion, excitement, and access to information regarding STEM, our group would like to organize and run an eight week national workshop (in Indiana and Pennsylvania) for middle school students called United Engineers. The program will allow students to learn the basic concepts of engineering from high school students (first five weeks). The first phase will allow students to learn math and science basics (electricity and magnetism, kinematics, simple machines, etc.), maintain an engineering notebook of the workshop activities after informative lectures that involve construction and deconstruction of items/mechanisms, and learn the engineering design process. In the final three weeks, students will split up into groups to develop and propose an innovative solution addressing one or more of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. United Engineers will be a sustainable, annual, and expanding program to enhance and help students apply what they learn in the classroom after school.
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At bare minimum, the project will prove successful if local youth gain service-learning hours for installing the conservation garden in ways that spark meaningful prior Green School PTSA memorializing conversation and reflection. This success indicator is very reachable being that The Natural Roots Project’s (NRP’s) partner-organization, The Empowerment Center of Maryland, Inc, has agreed to both: a) host youth-preparatory sessions at their facility, and b) provide the 501c3 criteria necessary to grant service-learning credit. Furthermore, many Cherry Hill plot holders are elderly retirees, accustomed to seeing mainly food planted at their location. Thus, the conservation garden is likely to spark much curiosity, inquiry and conversation. The process of garden installation and community response will be documented via a youth coordinated video montage and short feedback surveys respectively.
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As part of our campaign, we will be contributing time to the weekly bbqs near the train tracks where many live in one of 2 tent cities. We will offer the mats for sitting (there's so much mud from intense weather) and the seed kits for planting in the community garden near the shelter. We will engage in conversation starting with, "What's your name?" We know that homeless people are rarely asked this basic human question. We will track how many people we connect with, creating humanity within our community. Having learned mapping at ESRI when I was with the NYLC, I am planning to show my group other homeless communities in the Capitol region that we need to reach out to. We will also create relationships with the youth by gardening together.

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