Seventy New York City public school students came together on February 4th at a workshop hosted by Media Impact in an effort to improve their school communities. The youth, students at the Urban Assembly Academy of Civic Engagement (CIVIC) and the Urban Assembly School of Business for Young Women (SBYW), are part of Media Impact’s My School – My Community program to engage students in creating critical conservations about issues in their schools.
My School – My Community is an innovative approach to learning that directly and actively engages students. Through hands-on exploration, students learn to effectively use creative storytelling and media -- dramas, talk shows and campaigns -- to catalyze change and mobilize action about critical issues affecting their schools. Now in its second year, My School - My Community uses communication tools to enable and empower students to take ownership of their school, provides a platform for student voices in the decision making process and strengthens the capacity of youth to engage peers, administrators, teachers and parents in building a strong, collaborative school community. The reflection below was submitted by Taylor Fana, an 8th grade student at CIVIC who has participated in the program for the past two years.
My School - My Community is an amazing program that was introduced to my school last year. It has changed the way scholars look at school. This program has made a major impact on my school's awareness of cleanliness. The scholars were motivated to clean and even formed a “Cleaning Squad”. We were all very dedicated and had a lot of fun learning how we can be leaders and that we start the chain reaction in our school. We all decided to take charge and take a stand, and we did.
My School - My Community has taught the scholars in my school that if we want something for our school we have to do it ourselves. At first I thought that this would be a difficult task to take on but with the help of my other peers any task could be taken on. We all decided on what role we wanted to take on in the radio show and as time progressed we had a radio show, the name, and scholar involvement. I noticed that explorations were more fun when people participated and we all really wanted this.
This program really has impacted Civic and the way the students felt about school. They felt that their community was important and was of tremendous value. We all took time to work on posters for awareness, make announcements and took the time to plan out the skits for it. Our school looked better because we planned a contest for neatest hallway, advisory and classroom. That really got the kids involved and a little friendly competition never hurts.
My favorite experience throughout this whole entire program was when we visited the PCI - Media Impact office over in the United Nations. We learned different techniques about how to make our school a better environment. We also learned about when PCI -Media Impact went to Guatemala. We learned how a group of children about my age were able bring forward such a better community on their own. It was an inspirational story and motivated me to do the same.
PCI-Media Impact empowers communities worldwide to inspire enduring change through creative storytelling. For 25 years, we have worked with local partners to produce programs that address the most pressing social and environmental issues. Using our unique My Community methodology, we engage and empower audiences around the world to improve their own lives. Working with local partners, we change the world one story at a time. For more information, please visit:www.mediaimpact.org