Have you ever been concerned with a local environmental issue, but didn’t think you had the tools to tackle it? STRIVE Preparatory Schools Westwood campus students rolled up their sleeves and put their skills to the test through Cottonwood Institute’s Community Adventure Program (CAP).
STRIVE Westwood students that participated in the CAP class this spring were a group of enthusiastic, hard-working middle schoolers dedicated to learning about local environmental problems and how to help fix them. They met every week for 12 weeks with Cottonwood Instructor Lauren Savelle and STRIVE science teacher Katie Mast.
The program began with some light-hearted get-to-know-you games and then transitioned into discussions about state-wide environmental issues that were actually being voted on during the current legislative session. Students presented their research and explained their opinions about why they thought each initiative was important, including its pros and cons. These committed students were sincerely interested in making a difference and banded together to choose an Action Project to benefit their community and the environment. After some deliberation, they chose to tackle the issue of pollution caused by transportation by promoting transportation alternatives.
During the program, students took a break from their classroom activities to embark on a once in a lifetime overnight camping trip adventure with the STRIVE Montebello campus. They explored the outdoors, learned essential camping and wilderness survival skills, fire ecology, and complete a fire mitigation project to protect the ecology of Cal-Wood Education Center outside of Jamestown, CO. Click here to read more about their camping adventure.
For the remainder of the program, Westwood students focused their efforts towards their Action Project. They solicited corporate donations from Target, and Cottonwood Institute contributed money to buy additional supplies. The students created their own posters to promote alternative transportation to help reduce transportation pollution and they placed these posters around the school and sent them home with parents. Students also designed and decorated white and colored t-shirts using their own stencils, fabric spray paint and pens, and stamps for some of the letters. After school on three different days the students and instructor set up a table in the hallway to sell the shirts. Many teachers, administrators, and students showed up to support our CAP students and they managed to raise over $100! After deliberation the students chose to donate the money they raised from t-shirt sales to a local nonprofit called BikeDenver. BikeDenver’s mission is to promote and encourage bicycling as an energy efficient, non-polluting, healthy and enjoyable transportation alternative in and around Denver.
At the end of the program the students felt satisfied that they learned new tools and strategies to help them make a difference in the world. Many students learned new facts about the environment and all left with a greater desire to make a change compared when they started the program. The spring CAP program at STRIVE Westwood was a great success for the students who now know how to use “wide-angle vision” to look at the world and make a positive change.
A special thanks goes out to all of our supporters and funders that help make our partnership with Strive Preparatory Schools possible this school year, including: Salah Foundation, Ladd Foundation, PeyBack Foundation, and CoBiz Cares Foundation.
Written by Lauren Savelle, edited by Ford Church