GLASGOW — Students learned all about giving back to the community last week during the Service Learning summer camp hosted by the Glasgow Middle School 21st Century Community Learning Center.
And on Friday, the students demonstrated their learning, as they volunteered at the soup kitchen at the Liberty District Ralph Bunche Community Center. Although the students weren’t allowed to work in the kitchen area due to their age, they found other ways to help.
GMS eighth-graders Alayah Crutcher and Wyatt Gouty greeted community members and shook their hands as they walked into the cafeteria. They, along with other students, also helped deliver food to tables, threw trash away, cleaned tables and socialized with community members.
Mackenzie Perez, a rising sixth-grader at GMS, wore a big smile as she interacted with people.
“It’s fun,” she said. “You can help them with kindness.”
Leslie Brauer, a GMS teacher and camp instructor, said the Service Learning camp “involved the students identifying a problem in the community.”
“They decided to look at hunger in the community,” she said. “Through the process of identifying the problem, we looked at resources people have. … We looked at programs in the area.”
Brauer said they researched various feeding programs that benefit community members.
“Then we decided to find a way that we could help,” she said. “So, through their research, they determined that there are a lot of places that people didn’t know about. They didn’t know about opportunities to donate, volunteer or use those resources.”
The students decided to start a social awareness program, Brauer said, “so that people would know more and the community could get more involved.” The students came up with around 20 ideas to build awareness, and they want to continue this project during the school year.
“They’re looking at flyers, billboards, radio and television announcements, newspaper announcements. Just all kinds of media,” Brauer said. “It’s so exciting.”
The instructor said she really liked how the adults at the camp were there “to just facilitate discussion.”
“We don’t really guide them to the answers,” Brauer said. “They come up with it themselves. So it’s student-generated, student-initiated. I’m so proud of them. I’m so proud of this group of kids that came up with these ideas, and they are very excited to do this project and to continue working on this project.
“Today we had the opportunity to actually put our plan into action and volunteer here at the soup kitchen.”
Crutcher said it was eye-opening to learn that “there’s actually a lot of people who are hungry, and there’s different summer programs like the Bunche Center that provides food for them.”
Gouty and GMS rising eighth-grader Ryan Hernandez said volunteering at the soup kitchen was a great experience and that they enjoy helping people.
GMS rising seventh-grader Angel Diaz and rising eighth-grader Sofia Zhindon said they all took a tour of the Bunche Center before the soup kitchen opened for lunch.
Zhindon said she enjoyed “seeing all of the history that’s in this school and now what they’ve turned it into, which is really amazing and really great that they turned an old building into a place to help people who really need it.”