College students teaching younger generation to lead
by Staff Writer
Davidson College students are putting civil service in the hands of an even younger generation.
Youth Davidson, a college club, held the first orientation session for the Davidson Service Board Saturday, Feb. 11. Students from Davidson Day, Hough High, North Mecklenburg, Bailey Middle and Cannon schools and Community School of Davidson, 43 in all, came out to begin the journey toward an entirely youth-led community service initiative in Davidson.
College freshmen Aric Reviere, Hannah Nelson, Brian Parker, Gi Lee and Renato Guerrieri started Youth Davidson last fall, the college support behind the Davidson Service Board. They applied for and secured grant funding through the college’s Center for Civic Engagement’s Bonner Scholars program.
The group of freshman has put together a curriculum for the first semester of the Davidson Service Board, starting wit orientation day.
Students broke into teams for a town-wide scavenger hunt, learning about municipal government’s role in civic engagement at town hall, public services at Ada Jenkins and racial and physical dividers at the railroad tracks.
Mayor John Woods spoke to students about active engagement in the community, Reviere said.
Students also heard from former Habitat for Humanity Chief Executive Paul Leonard, Davidson College Dean of Students Tom Shandley, Davidson College Student Body President Gerard Dash, Kristen Booher from the Center for Civic Engagement and also from Reviere.
Reviere said he wants to hear from middle and high school students about the issues they see in town and give them the tools to address them.
For the rest of the spring semester, the middle school and high school board will each meet weekly, at a location to be decided.
Students will go through a series of workshops and then write, create and film public service announcements on the issues they see in the community, and Youth Davidson will publish the announcements.
Youth Davidson has about $3,000 secured to fund two projects for each board for the spring and fall semester, but they will also push the younger students to network in the community.
“We’re never going to fund a full project of theirs,” Reviere said. “We’re going to require that they find other means to fund a project.”
Davidson Service Board members will have to build relationships with other nonprofits in town and secure funding on their own.
The high school board will present its first project at Town Day on May 5, once they settle on one.
“They could do a community-wide art project on an issue they identify,” Reviere said. “Maybe they’ll orchestrate all the volunteers … or maybe a poverty awareness initiative.”
The middle school board will work on a community-wide art project on an issue they identify for Davidson’s Art on the Green April 21-22.
College volunteers will help the board identify needs and create projects this year, but starting the in fall of 2012, the students will be completely in charge, Reviere said.
The middle and high school students will come up with their own projects and write grant proposals to Youth Davidson and their other funding partners.
Want more information?
For more information or to sign up for the Davidson Service Board, visit www.YouthMovement.be.