When Rachael Brunson's 3rd-grade class began their Semester of Service this fall, they knew they were up against a tough issue: Childhood hunger. But the students at Elsa England Elementary School in Round Rock, Texas, quickly learned that the problem was much closer than they knew: 1 in 4 of their peers are food insecure. What are they doing about it?
First, the children investigated the issue. Ms. Brunson guided her students through language arts curricula, while at the same time letting the students take the lead in appreciative inquiry about childhood hunger. The students' curiosity, compassion and especially their academic engagement shone through from the start. "We're learning these things about how to help people, and that makes me want to encourage other people" said one student.
Just after starting their Semester of Service, the students recorded their thoughts.
The students did not stop at learning about the issue of childhood hunger. Now, they're taking action to do something about it! Ms. Brunson and her class have developed partnerships with another elementary school in the Austin area, and together, they will lobby at the State Capitol as part of their Global Youth Service Day project. Their preparations are just getting under way, and they used MLK Day of Service to practice for the rally.
Ms. Brunson and service-learning educators like her know that kids bring fresh perspective to solving big problems like childhood hunger: "We look at the problem and we see it as insurmountable most of the time. They look at it as 'hey, let's tackle this, let's go and let's find a solution,"' said Brunson. "We can't wait until tomorrow for the youth to grow up and solve the problems of today. We need them to be solved right now."
Watch the students' practice on MLK Day of Service.