By Ibti Vincent, FoodPrints Lead Teacher
Over the past year, I've had the pleasure of working with Karin Harrison, who in addition to being a fabulous special education teacher runs an after school club that attracts some of the most thoughtful and dynamic students at The School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens. Together, elementary and middle schoolers in the self-named Student Sustainability Corps have written (and won!) grants, presented at local conferences, built a retaining wall with community volunteers to ameliorate soil erosion in the front of the school, conducted bin surveys around the school and posted signs to improve recycling efforts throughout the building, and regularly helped me maintain the school's organic vegetable garden. How lucky am I to be a part of this school community and work with these smiling, conscientious young people?
Our connection is an also example of how our FoodPrints school garden extends to support after school and STEM-focused programming outside of FoodPrints classes.
The group also was responsible for constructing and installing a homemade chicken run for the laying hens that were housed at the school for a month this fall. The birds were pretty awesome, inspiring community goodwill and teaching urban kiddos about animal care, while also laying an egg a day and providing learning experiences for our FoodPrints classes.
Their efforts to improve our school community inspire me each day. Each Wednesday when I work with them, I wonder: how will they make me think, and make me smile, today? These students will no doubt go on to become leaders in their communities, to the benefit of us all.
Student Sustainability Corps members mulching and pruning kale in the Francis Stevens school garden