So much has happened to high school students this year. During a time in life where they are supposed to be seeking out new opportunities and finding themselves, their wings have been clipped and they are stuck in the nest, disengaged from the world around them. So much change is happening in the world that affects them. Environmental protections have been demolished. Human rights are being trampled. Poverty is increasing at an exponential rate.
Centaurus High School CAP students are not ignorant about what is happening around them. They can see it all through the media. In a normal year, these students might be joining groups and clubs to address social and environmental issues, or at least buying cookies at bake sales or fundraisers. This year, when issues are at their most crucial, students have little outlet for their understandable angst.
The Fall CHS CAP class learned how to break the cycle of cynicism and move towards hope. They created their own micro projects which help them take small steps to make a difference in their community. They were encouraged to find a topic that they cared about as individuals and together we all brainstormed ways that they could enact some sort of solution to the problem, no matter how small. Because of the compressed semester, the students had less than a week to plan and execute their projects. Some students organized themselves to clean up some local parks and make signs encouraging people to recycle. One student collected fifty bags of menstrual supplies and donated them to a local shelter. Some students created social media messages encouraging people to donate to people in need during the holidays and some posted messages about mental health resources. One student’s project was encouraging the Newcomer students in the class to take advantage of AP classes.
These small actions were steps out of the stream leading to cynicism and despair. The students learned that no matter how isolated they are, or how busy they are and short of time, they can still make change in the world. We can never do enough or have enough time to fix everything, which can just lead to despair. But these students learned that by taking small actions they can regain some of the power and hope in the world.
Written by CAP Instructor Erin Angel
CAP at Centaurus High School is made possible in part by a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) through the Nature Kids/Jovenes de la Naturaleza program. Click here to learn more!