Last month I took a couple of days off of school to travel to Washington, D.C. I like D.C., with its history and its monuments. However, on my last trip, I was not there to tour. I was there to present Randolph School’s Community Learning framework as a method for preventing youth violence in the United States.
I have been part of the Youth Leadership Council at Randolph since my freshman year. I have participated in many ways, including tutoring, presenting to government, education, and business leaders, planning new initiatives, and even creating a brand new project (I will get to that later).
The Youth Leadership Council has allowed me to connect with the wider community. I have been able to learn with other students from other schools, most notably Butler High School. We have shared stories and have been able to understand that our background differences do not create a barrier between us and do not matter because we have the common goal of helping our community. I think that this is one of the most important things about Youth Leadership Council. Interaction is so much more valuable than studying census data or other statistics. Conversations with other students and community stakeholders will be more memorable than anything else
In Washington, D.C., I attended the Third Annual Summit on Preventing Youth Violence. At this conference, local government leaders, business leaders, and educational leaders came together to share ideas and programs that are being implemented into their respective cities as a method for preventing youth violence. I had the opportunity to sit in a roundtable discussion with other students from cities such as San Jose and Detroit where we shared our stories and talked about our methods for helping the community.
In addition to participating in the roundtable discussion, I conducted a workshop with a Randolph alum about Randolph’s actions in preventing youth violence and helping the community. I discussed how students at Randolph, in collaboration with students at Butler, have created a program known as Legacy Huntsville, an extended job shadowing program that calls for students to combine what they learn in the classroom and what they learn from companies that work with to solve civic problems. I also discussed how Randolph’s Community Learning program is talent- and skill-based, meaning that the possibilities for new community programs are endless.
For example, I am in the process of creating an interactive textbook for the iPad for our math tutoring programs in the Lower School. I believe that it is important to engage students and make them excited about learning so I am leading a team of 12 other students and the textbook will be finished by the end of this school year. What is important about this is that the interactive textbook was never in our vision for Community Learning. However, I was able to use my skill of graphic design and apply it to Community Learning. This demonstrates that our program always has new possibilities.
Other members of the Youth Leadership Council are already creating new programs to help the community based on their talents and skills. This program is only in its second year and has already made so much progress. I am excited to see how it progresses in the years to come.
Photos: Randolph and Butler students presented their Legacy Huntsville program to City Council and worked together at a youth leadership retreat.