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 Union County, employ a $10,000 grant from the Hipp Foundation to implement Project 2015: Youth Led Social Action for Global Change.
Student 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 from the school’s clubs are selected to create the project leadership team. These students travel to New York to receive leadership training from organizations affiliated with the United Nations. During their development as global student leaders, project members 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 share first hand experiences related to organizing for social actions.
Students 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. A socially conscious art exhibit is created to raise consciousness and bring about social change. Students use art and technology to create materials to inspire peers to awareness and action. Student work is displayed in a gallery setting.
The student-led human rights conference is the culminating activity where students organize presentations as part of a conference schedule where other students participate in a variety of topics such as the environment, global migration, child labor, HIV/AIDS, children & war, youth empowerment, and emerging issues of interests to the student. An end of project celebration includes a visit to an art exhibit at the United Nations and a luncheon in New York.
Students are surveyed on their ability to identify and describe the eight UN Millennium Goals.
For further information, contact:
School - (908) 486-0550