Friends Beyond Borders II

The Friends Beyond Borders II project received a $10,000 continuation grant from NJEA Frederick L. Hipp Foundation for Excellence in Education. Teachers Kevin LaMastra, Michael D’Amato, Marie Henry, Eliana Penaranda, and Mark Decastro from Soehl Middle School (Union County) will build on their original project which teaches students about global development issues such as poverty, hunger, education, and migration.

Friends Beyond Borders II will also expand the effort to send school supplies and health care items to children of Haitian migrant workers in the Batey Caraballo. Through a partnership with a non-governmental organization ( NGO) representing the United Nations Office of Public Information, a series of video-conferences provides an opportunity to discuss this project with other school districts interested in creating similar learning experiences for their students. Several student leaders will have the opportunity to present this project to students from around the world at the annual U.N. Student Conference on Human Rights.

The second phase of the project will also include summer literacy workshops for students to deepen their knowledge of project themes. They will assemble health care kits to be sent to the Batey families. Students will participate in web-based discussion groups, or blogs. The final workshop will consist of a field trip to New York to view Caribbean art, visit a Dominican market, and sample ethnic foods. In August, the project coordinator will accompany other teachers on a trip to the Batey community to perform a service project and interview the migrant families and community leaders. Teachers will correspond to their students in an interactive blog.

The project will culminate in the fourth-marking period when students and teachers will review information, photos, and video footage to create a multi-media Internet presentation. Students will celebrate with a luncheon and Haitian art exhibit in New York.

For further information, contact:

Kevin A. LaMastra
(732) 203-1098