Serving Impoverished Children in Indiana
A Peacemaking Project by Luke G.
What is the injustice we are solving?
According to the 2017 Census, there are over 200,000 students (K-12) living in poverty, or 17% of the student population of Indiana lives in poverty. While researching, I was astounded by the amount of need that is present. These children are the same as any other child in Indiana except for the fact that when they go home, there is no food in the pantry. Their parents are not able to be there, because they are working pay check by pay check trying to scrape by. These children still need the same necessities that every other child has, but they have to find different ways to meet their needs. I see this problem as an opportunity to serve our community. I want to work teenagers who strive to make a difference in our community and who want to see change and make a tangible impact on this perpetual problem in our community.
Our Compassionate Solution:
To solve this injustice of childhood poverty
we will address childhood hunger and lack of necessities
by providing schools and organizations with bags containing food/snack items which can be distributed to the children who would benefit the most.
Our Project Plan:
- Decrease/ End childhood hunger in the Hamilton County School Districts.
- Pack over 1,000 bags for the impoverished students.
We will increase my / our compassion by...
We will increase our compassion by empathizing with the children we interact with and realize that the students we are helping could be the people we see walking in the hallway each day.
How will you show courage?
We will show courage by not letting the fact that we are young hinder or performance or impact that our project will have. Yes, we are young, but we are creative, entrepreneurial and can make a tangible difference in our community.
How will you collaborate with others?
We are partnering with the local schools in our districts and different clubs to run food drives and fundraisers for the supplies needed for the bags we are packing. We are also hosting packing events for all youth in our community to come together, pack bags, and make an impact on our community together. We
How will you know you are moving in the right direction? (What are specific ways you can measure your impact?)
The nurses and administrators in our school have the exact numbers of students who are impoverished in their schools. We hope to provide each school with an amount of bags that is more than necessary to feed each of the students. We can measure our success by keeping track of the amount of bags needed vs. the amount of bags packed.
- APRIL 10th -17: Get local schools, clubs, or classes to help run a drive for non-perishable food items, to be finished APRIL 12TH, for the global youth service day.
- APRIL 16th- 18th: Continue to spread the project through social media, as well as local media.
- APRIL 19th -20th: Present to local classes and clubs to enable more students to participate.
- APRIL AND MAY: Continue drives, and presentations.
- APRIL 20th - 27th: Host sewing and crafting events to make more bags to donate.
- MAY 12- 14: Conclude drives and host service day events, for the Global Youth Service Day.
How did the project deepen your team's understanding of the injustice?
This project opened our team and organization's eyes to how deep and how impactful poverty is on local communities. We were educated each time on the needs of these people, and were better equipped to help make an impact on those people!
How did your community change as a result of your project?
We were able to pack around 1,500 bags for our local community, and the impoverished children within them! These bags were donated to children who go home hungry each day and who might not be able to have the hygiene necessities that are necessary each day. This is our definition of change, knowing that around 1000 kids were able to go home for a few days and be fed, and have those necessities available.
How many people were impacted by your project?
Explain how you came up with the number of people impacted by the project?
This number was generated by counting each bag packed and the amount that was donated.
How did your team learn more about the people affected by the injustice?
When listening to stories of volunteers or workers who interact with these students daily, we were better equipped to benefit our demographic better. We went in with an idea of how deep poverty impacted communites and were able to walk away fully realizing how skewed that mindset was and better calibrated on the reality of the situations that these children are in.
What did your team learn?
1.) Our team learned that you will never know the truth of a situation until you encounter it first hand. 2.) Poverty affects anyone, no matter the city you live in, or the schools you attend. 3.) Anyone can make an impact on a community, no matter age, gender, or capabilities.
What challenges did your team overcome?
We overcame many challenges, especially how to handle situations that may seem overwhelming. We expected a far less amount of people and volunteers to attend each event, and this led to chaos in a way, when the events kicked off. We overcame this and was able to provide more supplies and include everyone.
How have you involved others in designing, carrying out, or expanding this project?
We have made sure that students and adolescents were involved in every aspect of designing and running each event. This allowed for them to learn necessary skills, but also what it takes to run a "business" or service project in the future. We also reached out to each volunteer to contact their schools, so that in the future we can run events with them as well, and we doubled our partnerships for next year!
What advice would you give to someone starting a peacemaking project?
No one is too young to make an impact on their community. Each and every adolescent or youth should find something they are truly passionate about, and find a way to use this as a way to run a service project or benefit their community. The more you are passionate about something, the more impact and success it will have in the future.