Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Bowen Students Get Active for Chavez Month

For the fifth consecutive year, Bowen students participated in the Cesar Chavez month of Service. I had the pleasure of participating in several activities with my students in both my AP Art Class and Spanish I classes. We started the month off well! We had new teachers get involved and take over our beloved CIMBY program. The workshop we attended on March 2 was GREAT!

On 3/3 a small group of students met me at Juan Diego Community Center (Centro Comunitario Juan Diego) on 88th and Commercial to help pack food for their food pantry. When we arrived we were deeply saddened to see that number of families waiting for food and learn about their near bare cupboards. We were only able to give about 8 cans of food to each person. When our group reconvened for our reflection, we decided we needed to collect food for them and stock their pantry. In four days our little cooperative designed and put up posters around the school, spoke to their Division Teachers and collected HUNDREDS of cans of food, boxes of pasta, rice, and other non-perishables. We followed up by returning the next Saturday, 3/10, to deliver our goodies to them and help sort and hand out bags again! It was great, we were able to help, in just two Saturday mornings, over 100 families.

In the meantime my Spanish I classes were learning about the work of Cesar Chavez and what he meant to the Hispanic community. On March 8, we went to El Instituto del Progreso Latino, and our students paired up with an adult student going through the Citizenship process. We interviewed them, quizzed them, worked with them and we learned A LOT. When we reflected on this the students went wild; they loved it and they wanted to stay longer. They have been asking to return ever since. We wrote stories about the adults and on March 21 and took a follow up trip to Radio Arte 90.5 in Pilsen. We recorded our stories and 6 students read their stories in English and Spanish LIVE on air. We even had several that our adults that we interviewed listen to the program as we recorded.

On March 14, a group of seniors interested in going into teaching once the get into (and out of) college, went to a Kimochis training. Kimochis teaches high school students how to teach appropriate social-emotional skills to little kids. They went to training at 320 N. Elizabeth. New Service-Learning Coach Lucia Estrada and I took 4 girls to receive the training and Ms.Estrada is now leading these girls, recruiting more students to participate and we are still scheduling with our local elementary to implement the amazing opportunity! Keep on the lookout for more about Bowen and this project.

On March 20 a group of dedicated seniors led and sponsored a blood drive at the school. Not only did they students coordinate the event, work and recruit, they also registered students and helped them after blood was drawn, distributing snacks, water, and ice packs! It was a great job, and we helped save over 109 lives.

On March 26, we had a wonderful math teacher, Mr.Shawn Espinosa, take a group of students to the Marilynn Rabb Foundation where they worked with hunger issues and sorted and packed food and handed them out to needy families at the Laribee Police Station.

Lastly, and the most exciting part of this month, was the Celebration of Cesar Chavez at the Reflection Day at Benito Juarez High School. Ms. Estrada and I took students who participated in at least one of the above listed events. We watched an amazing cultural show then split up and participated in workshops with other schools. We were even fortunate enough to be asked to lead a workshop which other students attended that talked about Propaganda and Protest art and how Cesar Chaves influenced that movement through his peaceful protests! We culminated the great day with a march through Pilsen, carrying signs and yelling chants to commemorate the 350 mile march that Chavez did in his protests.

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