Monday, April 11, 2011

Vaughn Students Support The Night Ministry

This year freshmen at Vaughn Occupational High School participated in our yearly fundraising activity for the Night Ministry. The Night Ministry ( aids homeless youth and adults and provides basic supplies along with free healthcare, housing, and supportive services.

Throughout November and December the freshmen participated in activities in their courses to learn more about homelessness and the impact it has on their communities. Also in November the students sold healthy snacks in their lunch periods to raise money. Although the snacks only ranged in price from $0.25 to $0.50 they were able to raise $180.00 in just three weeks! Just before winter break all of the freshmen came together to create and stuff stockings with basic supplies for Night Ministry’s annual winter holiday party.

This service learning project had obvious benefits, such as having the students learn more about homelessness and helping those serviced by Night Ministry, but it also had other less obvious benefits. The first was introducing our freshmen to service-learning. At the beginning of the year many of our freshmen students were unsure of what volunteering or service-learning meant. While we worked on this project we also discussed the importance and benefits of volunteering. If you speak with our freshmen now, they all are excited about doing more projects and volunteering outside of school in their communities.

Through this project the students also got to learn and/or practice some important job skills such as selling items, making change, sorting items, and sewing (which they all protested they couldn’t do before our project). We will continue to support Night Ministry in the coming years and if you would like to get more information about how we run our project please contact Sara Manseau or Catalina Fernandez at Vaughn.

300 CPS Students Celebrate Cesar Chavez

On Saturday, March 26, 300 CPS high school students celebrated the work and legacy of Cesar E. Chavez, the farm worker organizer, in the Pilsen community. Students participated in a series of morning workshops in which they created various works of art including drums, poetry, street theatre, banners, and posters. They then took to the streets for a commemorative march through the streets of Pilsen. The march honored the work of Chavez and fellow workers and organizers as they sought to bring justice to field laborers. For the sixth consecutive year, students have participated in service projects throughout the month of March. The projects address those issues important to Chavez: environmental justice, immigration, worker's rights, food and nutrition, and community development. In all, 70 groups of students served throughout the city of Chicago. At the culminating event hosted by Juarez Community Academy on March 26, students had the opportunity to meet and hear from Marcos Munoz, a fellow organizer of Chavez who helped to promote the successful grape boycott. As students took to the streets for the march under glistening blue skies, community members honked their approval as student chanted for unity, justice, and solidarity. It was an excellent opportunity to practice first amendment rights granted by the U.S. Constitution.

Vaughn Freshmen are Saving the World, One CFL at a Time

Freshmen at Vaughn Occupational High School have been participating in a brand new service- learning project called Lights for Learning. Lights for Learning is a project sponsored by the Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, and APT. This program provides schools and organizations the opportunity to earn funds by selling Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs) and other energy efficient items. 80% of the sales go back to the school. Since Vaughn is a zero waste grant school, Lights for Learning fits in perfectly with our current school culture. The freshmen have learned more about saving energy and CFL light bulbs in their classes. They also participated in a Lights for Learning assembly and got to learn more about the differences between CFL and traditional light bulbs by riding an energy bike. After learning more about saving energy, they then created informational handouts and posters advertising the sale. Our first sale was during Vaughn’s annual Fall Festival. Although the students had only been in school for a few weeks, over fifteen freshmen came to the Fall Festival to pass out their energy saving tips and to sell light bulbs. Parents, teachers, and visitors alike were impressed with their confidence in the process. From that event alone we raised $142.00. Our next event was at our third quarter parent teacher conferences. We are also creating videos about saving energy to enter in the Lights for Learning “How Do You Shine Like an Energy Star?” contest. At the end of the year the freshmen will be working together as a class to decide what type of energy saving items they would like to buy with the profits and donate to Vaughn to make our school more energy efficient. This project has taught our students more about saving energy, reinforced important work skills, and will help us as a school become more energy efficient. If you would like to know more about this program or would like to order light bulbs from Vaughn, contact Sara Manseau.