July 13, 2006

Public and Private DC school students answer a Call To Action on Poverty

They take local service-learning to an international level and bring it back home full circle to teach others.

29 students and teachers traveled to Ethiopia to better understand issues faced by a developing nation. Learn Serve Ethiopia’s purpose is to inspire teachers and students to apply what they learn to their classrooms and school community. This program is a Center for International Education program working in partnership with Share Our Strength’s Project Mercy.

So why is this a cool program ?
Because it involves students from both public and private schools learning about causes and effects of poverty both here in the US and internationally. And these kids make a commitment to learn from their experiences so that they can teach others.

These students meet with representatives from non profit organizations such as Save the Children and with representatives from the World Bank. They also serve locally at Martha's Table in DC. Talk about taking action to the next level !

Teams from the following schools that went to learn and serve in Ethiopia this summer 2006:
Anacostia Senior High School * Maret School
Banneker Senior High School * Seed Public Charter School
Bishop O'Connell School * The Potomac School
Cardozo Senior High School * Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology * Eastern Senior High School * Washington International School

With this foundation, students learn first hand about the challenges Ethiopia faces.
What They Did:
In late June the LSE team traveled to two different rural Ethiopian project sites. Here students tutored, taught, engaged in community service projects, and developed new friendships. During the two week service trip, they visited the capital city, and met with non-profit and government leaders.

Next Steps:
The school teams will report back to their schools and to invest time in curriculum development and explore how their school can make a difference. Thus, the founders of LSE expect the trip will be a beginning not an end to a transforming experience, not only for the trip participants, but also for the school as a whole.

Voice from the field from last 2005 trip. Teacher comments: "I am a changed human being. [...] this trip expands your world view [...] and has given me case studies and specific facts for my teaching." Student comments: "This trip has made an impact on my life. [...] I will be active in fighting for safe water, (ending) hunger and (preventing) the spread of AIDS." See also a journal entry and more quotes on the main LearnServe page.

-Heather Margolis, National Service-Learning Partnership

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