Students in Mr. Holmes’ freshman biology class participated in a unit about world hunger, which then grew into the first official service learning project for the Class of 2018. Students read about hunger and poverty throughout the world and then realized that they wanted to actually do something to make a difference. Yarlesha Johnson, a freshman at Clemente in the honors cohort, proposed an idea that the freshmen organize a food drive at the school. The idea caught on quickly, and a group of four students agreed to spearhead the project.
Dayanara Ocampo created posters and flyers to encourage participation. Kayla Vaughn, Imyah Manuel, and Daya Stanley decorated bulletin boards, gathered boxes to collect canned goods, and spoke to teachers and students to promote the fundraiser. The food drive was not an immediate success, according to students.
“It was challenging to get people to bring food to the school to donate,” Imyah Manuel explained. The students realized they needed to change something to achieve the results they were looking for.
“We created a competition between homerooms to boost donations,” Daya Stanley said. “The homeroom with the most collected items would win a lunch of their choice. We also created a bulletin board on the 4th floor, made announcements, and posted flyers. “ Stanley added. The students also created an original video to raise awareness.
Ms. Kelly’s homeroom won the competition with more than 130 donated items. The top donator was Imyah Manuel with 81 items. Manuel donated a combination of canned goods and nonperishables. The team of students wants to continue helping end hunger in Chicago by possibly volunteering at homeless shelters and soup kitchens.
“The best part about this was being able to help others,” said Kayla Vaughn. “It takes a lot to get people to be aware of what’s going on in the school and in the world. We had to keep reinforcing and motivating people to bring in their items. “ The students will continue raising awareness about world hunger and will possibly have another food drive later this year.