By Charly Snellings
It is almost time for spring break for DCPS students! Spring break is a great time for students to continue learning and exploring new opportunities while having fun. Since December, City Year corps members have been hard at work planning our spring break programs for students in elementary through high school. For our elementary and middle school students, we have been planning Camp City Year and for our high school students we have been planning Student Service Week. Both of these programs are led entirely by corps members, which means corps members have designed the lessons, service projects, recruitment efforts and more. Corps members will serve as team leaders and teachers during the week at both programs.
Camp City Year has been running for fourteen years and is our biggest spring break program with more then 200 students participating in it last year. Each year has a different theme which all the learning activities are centered around. This year’s theme is Timeless Heroes. During camp, the students will explore the lives of prominent heroes through different lessons and exciting activities. The week is inspired by heroes that the students can relate to, and the the focus will be on heroes from their own communities. The week will end with an “Amazing Race” where they are invited to envision the hero inside themselves. This week is full of not only fun activities for the students to enjoy during their spring break, but also learning about different subjects that will help them when they go back to school at the end of the week.
Student Service Week or SSW is the City Year spring break program for high school students. This program is in its second year, but will have a powerful impact on the students who participate. SSW aims to help students get community service hours by leading them in service projects during the week and also teaching them about social justice issues that affect them in their daily life and also on the national landscape. Students will get forty hours of community service which they can put toward their graduation requirement. The morning will be filled with sessions on different social justice issues that are centered around a theme for the day. The themes for each day include: homelessness and poverty, environmentalism, peace and identity. In the afternoon the students will be given the opportunity to engage in service work that is connected to those themes in the DC area. At the end of the week students will have the chance to meet people in the DMV area that work for the organizations that they volunteered with and hear about other opportunities that these organizations have.
Charly Snellings, author, is a corps member on the DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative team at Thomas Elementary School.