Student Web Activity

Chapter 2 Lesson 2: Making a Difference

Introduction

There are all sorts of ways to make a difference in the lives of those around you. For example, volunteering to help clean up parks, tutoring younger students, or reading to an older person are all good ways to have a positive influence. On the Web site below, you will learn about five steps to making a difference and what each involves. You will also find a large number of resources that will help you choose the way to make a difference that is perfect for you.

Link to explore: Free Child Web site:  http://freechild.org/

Directions

  • Start at the Free Child Web site homepage.
  • On the “Actions” page, click on and read the “Activism,” “Hip Hop,” “Intergenerational Partnerships,”and “School System Decision Making” links.
  • Take notes as you read.
  • When you are done reading, answer the questions below.
  • Finally, using the information from the link, interview other teens about issues at your school and what they think can be done about them. Post the results (with the permission of school officials) so other students can view and think about them.

Questions

  1. What does the Center for Teen Empowerment do?
  1. What is the Midnight Forum and what does it use hip hop to do?
  1. Why do elderly people and teens make good allies?
  1. What are some examples of ways students can get involved in the decision-making process at their schools?

Answers

  1. The Center for Teen Empowerment hires and trains urban youth, including at risk youth, to be community organizers.
  1. The Midnight Forum is a web site that encourages youth to use hip hop to create positive changes in their communities.
  1. Elderly people and teens make good allies because both face age discrimination (ageism) and social neglect in many communities.
  1. Some examples of ways students can get involved in the decision-making process at their schools include:
    1. joining committees that make decisions about curricula, calendar planning, and building design.
    2. joining boards of education.
    3. getting involved in programs offered by education agencies that set up grants and do school assessments.
    4. taking a role in making and enforcing discipline policies.
    5. helping educate other students.
    6. participating in establishing and enforcing codes of conduct.
    7. getting involved in committees that make decisions about hiring and firing teachers and administrators.
Additional Resources for Teachers

There are a huge number of resources available for teens who want to make a difference. Some of the best are below. You might try having students brainstorm the kinds of skills they think they have and then have them try to find areas where those skills could be used at their schools.

  1. America’s Promise:
    http://www.americaspromise.org/youth/index.cfm
  2. Sound Out:
    http://www.soundout.org/index.html
  3. What Kids Can Do:
    http://www.whatkidscando.org/index.asp
  4. Rising Out (a blog):
    http://risingout.blogspot.com/
  5. National Youth Rights Association:
    http://www.youthrights.org/

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