Last year PFFS-University held an Advisory Service Day on April 24th in conjunction with Earth Day and Global Youth Service Day. It was such a powerful experience for all that the PFFS-U staff decided at their end-of-year meeting in May that in 2015-2016 they would hold two Service Days – one in each semester. So next Friday (11/13) as part of ‘Spirit Week‘ at PFFS-U each of our six advisory groups will be out of the building working on six different service projects around Tucson. As we did last year, throughout that day we will post pics from each project at the PFFS-U Facebook Group page (as they come in). It is a ‘members only’ FB group, so get signed up before the big day so you can keep in the loop.
On Tuesday, November 3, PFFS Downtown eighth graders were invited to attend the Tucson Presidio Rotary Club meeting. The students presented to the club membership, downtown business owners and professionals, ideas they had developed as part of their Downtown Service Learning Problem Solving unit. After hearing the students’ proposal ideas, and asking questions, the Rotary members encouraged the students to submit a formal application for funding. This instructional unit incorporated the best of both project based learning and service learning principals, where students had to learn and practice using college and career skills (research, interviews, data collection, budgeting, presenting) to try to solve real world problems existing in our community.
Instilling in our students a deep sense of the importance of ‘giving back’ is central to the Paulo Freire Freedom School mission and ‘service learning’ is an integral part of our programming. Every eighth grader is required as part of their final portfolio exhibition in May to write and present their personal philosophy of Social Justice and Environmental Sustainability and relate it to an extensive service experience. Whereas activities like PFFS-U’s Advisory Service Day or PFFS-D’s Problem Solving unit cannot be counted towards the service learning hours required in that portfolio presentation we know that these types of in-school experiences have helped students determine their individual service projects and certainly have helped form their personal narrative about service.
Some eighth graders have already begun their individual service projects. For example, PFFS-U student Andre Emery has been working closely with Make Way for Books to organize a book drive at the University campus. Beginning Monday (11/9) PFFS-U students are being asked to bring new and/or gently used books to school that will later be distributed through MWFB to places in Tucson where children are waiting with their parents for services (i.e. DMV, hospital waiting rooms, etc.). Children in these places are invited to take a book home with them from the little ‘book house’ installed at these places. Andre will be helping MWFB with the distribution, as well as, organizing the book drive at PFFS-U. The PFFS-U Advisory that brings in the most books will be awarded with an Eegees party as part of Andre’s service project.
Eighth graders at both schools who are still looking for service learning opportunities in Tucson are encouraged to check out Tucsontopia‘s ‘Places for Teen Volunteers in Tucson’. Age restrictions apply so read the descriptions carefully.