Participating, Collaborating and Making a Difference

With differences in politics, religion and socioeconomic statuses, America is divided.  To help overcome these differences and to create more collaboration, cooperation and understanding, NPR is collecting stories of citizens who are uniting their communities in a series called Participation Nation.  In one story, Darryl Burnette, a chef, created a community garden in Harlem, NY.  Through this he hopes to teach students about healthy eating habits and urban gardening.  This is a wonderful idea and has the chance to transform our inner city neighborhood, our housing projects and our urban schools.

Other projects include:  providing more holistic care in North Carolina, cleaning up the beaches in Southern California, sheltering homeless pets in Atlanta, and providing playtime for homeless children with responsible, caring adults.

Despite what the project focuses on, they all add to the community and take each person a step closer to unity.  Through creating a stronger sense of togetherness, these initiatives provide a better learning experience because students know that they will have support with their goals and they are asked to creatively imagine solutions to some of our greatest social challenges.  With that support, chance to be creative and contribute, students will perform better in school and connect their learning to what they can actually do in the world outside of school.

Combining student motivation and support, the ultimate goal of the community programs is for students to learn how to be a 21st century citizen.  The drive to make more of a difference, and the willingness to help others will help students to connect to themselves, their classmates, role models and others who are committed to making a difference.

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