For the last six years, Eve Boyd, CORA’s Counselor at St. Christopher’s School in Somerton, has worked side-by-side with the National Liberty Museum to empower her sixth grade students to become civic leaders within their communities. Mrs. Mary Tremper, St. Christopher’s principal, was invited to be one of the first schools to pilot this partnership. In the beginning of the school year, Eve facilitates a ten-week-curriculum, designed by the museum that helps students find their own voices. The plan is to educate students about the importance of civic engagement and social justice through critical thinking, inquiry and project-based learning. Acting on the principle that liberty is a right every person should enjoy, Eve prepares youth to recognize and identify social issues and supports them in asserting change in their own lives and community.
To make lesson plans even more dynamic, the National Liberty Museum’s Outreach Coordinator, Alan Holmes, frequently visits the class to highlight young, modern day heroes, such as 13-year old Braeden Quinn Mannering and his Brown Bag Project (www.braesbrownbags.org). The Museum has coordinated corporate partnerships for the Young Heroes Program where local business leaders are matched with an elementary school. Beth Galvin, at Ernst & Young, has supported St. Christopher’s Young Heroes for the past three years. According to Beth,“The value to me, in supporting the Young Heroes Program, is the opportunity to invest in Philadelphia’s Catholic School System and help create our future leaders. It is very rewarding to me personally to be able to affect the life of youth in Philadelphia and see the results in real-time, measurable ways through the students’ impact at their school.”
Sixth to Eighth Grade students of the Young Heroes Club are currently participating in the Action-Phase of the curriculum. Two subcommittees have been formed to tackle two different school issues. With the help of Eve Boyd and Debby Lind, St. Christopher’s sixth grade teacher and co-advisor, the students are already making great strides. One group will be continuing the work from last year’s RESPECT Campaign and the other group will be tackling the topic of RESPECT of the SCHOOL’S ENVIRONMENT. As part of the campaigns, the Young Heroes Club led activities school wide to help break down barriers between students and encourage students to get to know each other better. “Eve’s championing of, and investment in Young Heroes, has really made this program the best it can be. It’s so clear that she cares deeply about all of her students and is eager to help them realize their full potential” said Alan Holmes, the Museum Outreach Coordinator. “Eve always manages to embrace the difficulty of giving the leadership of a project entirely over to her students. The students always know they have her on their side.”
Check out more information about the Young Heroes Outreach Program on the website and learn how CORA gets to the heart of the matter of social issues affecting our middle school youth.