Location: Santo Domingo and La Romana Date: February 2017 Theme: Project-Based Learning through Humanitarian Work Description: Before the cancellation of their trip to The Dominican Republic due to the Zika threat, the team had collected donations to fill the wish lists of the children in two DR orphanages. They urgently need these donations; therefore, the team’s adult administrative leader will deliver the donations during April vacation and the students will volunteer in the orphanages next February 2017.
Location: Salamanca, Spain Date: April 7-20, 2016 Theme: Youth Leadership Through Environmental Protection Description: Boston Green Academy’s Team Spain had the opportunity to experience unique cultural practices as well as improve access to different areas of the national forests north of Salamanca. While replacing directional and landmark signs for many miles on the hiking trails along the Duero River, the team learned about nutritional and medicinal plants from their expert guides. In San Ciprian, they hiked up several miles to an overgrown beehive apiary, removed invasive species around it and along the trails, and cleaned up all non-organic waste. While in this region, the students also learned about the agricultural trade paths and local folklore. They were invited to participate in traditional activities, including song, dance, and cooking from the elderly residents. This eye-opening exchange provided students with a unique glimpse into a world seldom seen by members outside the community.
In the Iruelas Valley, our students teamed up with local high school Biology students to collect insect specimens and water samples in order to document and draw conclusions about the quality of water and oxygen levels of the river for the park officials. Together, the students gained experience on the practical application of Biology while interacting with each other and engaging in cross-cultural dialogue. Team Spain planned and presented an environmental workshop, including their findings on water quality, in each Green Academy advisory back at their school.
Location: Patagonia, AZ (Sonoran Desert) Date: April 15-24, 2016 Theme: Supporting a Sustainable Future Description: Quest students from Another Course to College High (ACC) pushed themselves past their comfort zones during a transformative time in the borderlands region of Arizona. Being physically confronted by the Mexican-American border wall, students learned about and experienced a fragment of what immigrants face coming from Mexico to the United States as well as the negative environmental impact of the wall. They interviewed border guards about their perspectives regarding their responsibilities and also listened to the personal stories of children who live in border towns and have been affected by separation from their families and strict immigration laws. This helped our students reflect on their own immigration experiences and expanded their understanding and empathy for this important issue.
Under the hot Arizona sky, students also tested their physical limits through activities and service, including hiking, digging trenches for a grey water system, and helping to build a gabion (huge wire baskets filled with concrete rocks) to prevent flooding and reverse soil erosion. Finally, the team worked with a local farmer and visited her home, built exclusively from reusable resources.
After cultivating the earth and their own leadership through team-building activities at the ranch, Team Arizona returned to Boston ready to build a garden, creating grey water and compost systems at their new school.
Location: New Orleans, LA Date: April 19-26, 2016 Theme: Young leaders Working together to Build Healthy Lives Description: Students volunteered in numerous projects in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, including preparing hot meals at the Food Pantry, cleaning up trash and weeding/planting gardens, maintaining a horse ranch which is used as a therapeutic space for young people, and fixing up the house of an impactful member of the community, Pastor Jack, who opens his home to survivors of abuse. The students connected to Pastor Jack as a role model and mentor who truly cares about his community. He encouraged them to continue with their education and to strive to make a difference.
Both the history and current conditions of race relations, along with significant differences in class, opportunity, privilege and resources between different areas of New Orleans, had a major impact on the team. By interacting with these community leaders, they gained a more nuanced understanding of the disparities between different communities based on race and class. Bringing their new understanding home, Team New Orleans deepened their experience by sharing their new knowledge and reflections with the Dearborn upper school, initiating a mentorship program for sixth graders, and volunteering at the Greater Boston Food Bank.
Location: Bucharest, Romania (Valea, Screzii) Date: April 9 – 17, 2016 Theme: Small Acts of Kindness Description: Students lived and volunteered in the local orphanage in Valea, Screzii and quickly learned about the number of responsibilities needed for a small community to survive and thrive. The team had many opportunities to serve, get to know, and learn from the staff and youth, from preparing daily meals together, teaching and playing with the children, to hanging out and sharing personal stories and basketball tips with their new Romanian high school friends. They also helped improve the community by painting a wooden fence along the main road of the village, and clearing the construction site for the next phase of a new high school dormitory at the orphanage.
Another of the team’s responsibilities was working on the farm where they cleared, tilled and prepared a plot of land and a greenhouse and planted the community’s seasonal crops, including potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and herbs.
Working with their hands in a beautiful and energizing landscape brought the team closer together and instilled an appreciation for a lifestyle so different from their own. In addition, they discovered that despite language, cultural, and religious differences, strong friendships, mutual respect, and common goals can be achieved when we work together. Back at The Burke, Team Romania is working to create a more inclusive community by establishing and maintaining the "Teen Closet" that serves students who are displaced, homeless or in need of personal items.
Theme: Becoming an upstander: Building community and opportunity in Boston and the world
Location: Pine Ridge Reservation, SD Description: It was a life-changing week on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota for hard-working students and teachers from Another Course to College. They were humbled by the opportunity to serve one of the poorest people in the Western Hemisphere. They built a wheelchair ramp and outhouses and installed siding on trailers for the Lakota Sioux. Through service and reflection, the team developed a deeper understanding of themselves and each other.
Theme: Youth Leadership Through Environmental Protection Description: Boston Green Academy has returned from the Dominican Republic, full of excitement and new experiences. Students worked with three local environmental organizations to test water samples from a local river, clean up the beach with community volunteers, build composting beds, and working in a seedling nursery. They also distributed backpacks to the students of a local elementary school. It was an intense bonding experience for the team, traveling to a new country for the first time for some students, witnessing severe poverty and supporting each other throughout the trip.
Theme: Education is Transcendent Description: Students from the Burke traveled to Ecuador for a week in the Amazon River Basin. In this vastly different environment, students and teachers were pushed beyond their comfort zone… and they thrived! Their projects included harvesting coffee beans with local farmers and their families. The team also experienced the true meaning of Minga, or community, as they worked hard together, carrying huge boulders across the river and shoveling dirt to make a cement path for a local community center.
Theme: Building Foundations: Constructing confidence and community through Katrina Restoration Service Description: Under the hot Louisiana sun, Team New Orleans helped make a house into a home with the St. Bernard Project. They worked tirelessly to install flooring and windows, caulk, paint, and complete finishing touches on the home of Ms. Betty, who lost her home 10 years ago during Hurricane Katrina. She was their main motivation as they encouraged each other to persevere. The team also toured the Ninth Ward and witnessed lingering destruction as well as recovery of the city. These mature and reflective students bonded as a family throughout this unforgettable week!
Theme: “Juntos sembrando y ayudando”, which means “Planting and Helping Together” Description: In the Andes mountains of Peru, students from Margarita Muñiz Academy embraced a new culture during their week of service. Working alongside farmers from indigenous communities, our team spent long, back breaking hours, harvesting potatoes on an organic farm and building close friendships with the local families. They shared stories of their families, pride in their cultures, and learned traditional dyeing and weaving techniques from the Peruvian women.
Theme: Youth Leadership through Environmental Protection
Partner Organizations: La Escuela Nacional Medio Ambiental(The National Environmental School) in Jarabacoa, Brigada Verde (The Green Brigade)Team Dominican Republic worked on two major projects with the Environmental School in Jarabacoa, D.R. During the Reforestation Project, the team learned how to plant and maintain local forests. They became involved in the entire process, from learning how to find seeds in the forest, plant them back at the school, take care of the tree nursery and then plant mature seedlings back in the forest. They also learned how to make and use compost for vegetable gardens. They worked with students in the local school to clear land and build a vegetable garden on the hill so that the school would have fresh vegetables to preparefor school lunches. The second project involved testing the water quality of the local river. The Environmental School used the same instruments that the Green Academy had used with the Charles River Watershed Association in Boston. They worked with the scientists to test the water, beginning with the crystal clear water at the top of the mountain and comparing it the more polluted river water as it passed through local communities to the valley. They also assisted in a program to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining clean water for a healthier local community.
Theme: Becoming Global Citizens in a Local Community: Changing Lives, Protecting the Environment.
Partner Organization: Mundo Hispano S. A.Team Costa Rica had an amazing time working in the community of San Miguel in the Sarapiqui region of Costa Rica. They had the opportunity to live with community members for ten days and really got involved in the community. They worked at the local elementary school teaching English to first graders and helping students make recycled paper. They also painted a bus stop and the outside of the local soap factory. They helped a local farmer clear his land for pasture use and helped to care for the red and endangered green macaws that nest on his property. Unfortunately during their time at Tortuguero National Park no sea turtles came up to nest, but they were able to learn about the work the conservatory is doing and how it impacts the local community.
Theme: Together We Build
Partner Organizations: Un Techo para Costa Rica, Habitat for Humanity, City YearThe Burke team completed community service projects in both Panama and Costa Rica with the Techo non profit organization, led by local young people from age 18-25. In Panama, the team worked in a rural community outside of Panama City. They were given a blueprint of a modular house and they had to dig post holes for the homes and build 3 complete houses, including the floor, walls, windows, and roof. They worked from dawn to dusk with local neighbors and future owners of the houses. It was quite an exhausting yet exhilarating experience for the entire team. In a community outside of San Jose, Costa Rica, the team helped to remodel the local community center, painting the entire structure inside and out. They also worked with local residents in making additional improvements.
Theme: We & They: Building a unified community via service learning.
Partner Organizations: Habitat for Humanity, The Harvard Program for International EducationTeam New Orleans worked with Habitat for Humanity over their April vacation in order to work on homes in a community affected by Hurricane Katrina. Throughout the week they put new siding on a house, put on a new roof, and many other finishing touches. The house should be completely finished in early June and the students from O’Bryant helped to make that happen! They were able to work with a lot of community members who were hoping to have homes of their own built in the same community in the near future.
School: Another Course to College High School (ACC)
Theme: “Becoming an Upstander: Our Responsibilities as Citizens of Boston and the World”
International Service project: Build a home for a homeless family with Habitat for Humanity International/ Global Village Project
School: Jeremiah E. Burke High School
Trip: Santo Domingo, The Dominican Republic
Theme: “Building Strength Through Diversity and Inclusion”
International Service project: Tutor children in reading and math in the academic program at an orphanage for children with special needs
School: English High School
Trip: Belize City, Belize
Theme: “Using History to Better Understand Ourselves and our Connection to Others”
International Service project: Build a home for a homeless family and volunteer with children with AIDS
School: Fenway High School
Trip: Mississippi Delta: Glendora, Webb, Jonestown, Lambert
Theme: “How Do You Do Right in the Face of Injustice: Poverty in the 21st Century”
National Service Project: Distribute children’s clothing, books, school supplies, and food to families in need and construct a local playground for children through the Gathering of Hearts Organization
School: West Roxbury Academy
Trip: Central Pacific Coast, Costa Rica
Theme: “Working to Promote Environmental Sustainability Globally and Locally”
International Service Project: Mangrove Reforestation Project
Boston International Newcomers Academy
Theme: How cultural experiences shape who you are
Location: La Push, Washington at Quileute Native American reservation
Project: Clean-up projects with elders and youth in the community; Cultural immersion in customs and traditional ceremonies with Quileute people.
Jeremiah Burke High School
Theme: Bridging differences while celebrating similarities
Location: Cape Verde: Praia and Fogo Islands
Project: Painting classrooms ; academic support in ELL; Donation of school supplies.
Theme: Building relationships in Nicaragua, cement block by block
Location: Managua, Nicaragua
Project: Build a home for a homeless Nicaraguan family
Theme: Defending and Promoting Children’s Rights locally and globally
Location: El Hogar del Amor y Esperanza Orphanage in Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Project: Constructing part of new dining hall, painting classrooms, teaching English to children
John D. O’Bryant High School
Theme: The Power of Education
Location: Jinotega, Nicaragua
Project: Teaching Spanish literacy and English in Community Center; Lead baseball and soccer clinics
West Roxbury Academy
Theme: Hope for Haiti: Supporting Haitian children living in the Dominican Republic
Location: Cabarete, Dominican Republic
Project: Tutor Haitian children, assist with clean-up project in Haitian Batey.
School: Boston International High School
Theme: Building our American Dream: Connecting local & national communities
Destination: Boston and Washington, D.C.
Project: Help build houses in Boston and Washington, D.C. with Habitat for Humanity
Educational Goal: To support English Language Learners from different cultures, countries, and language backgrounds by exploring what it means to be a community within the context of the changing “American Dream.”
School: Boston Public District Schools
Theme: From our Village to Yours: Boston to Peru
Destination: Cuzco, Peru
Project: To design and implement a project that is based on the real needs of both our Boston Community and the Cuzco community, focusing on a commitment and connection to both local and international service.
Goal: To partner with local organizations that serve our community, especially the youth in Boston and in Cuzco. They will volunteer at the Greater Boston Food Bank as well as Community Servings, Casa Nueva Vida, and Cradles to Crayons in Jamaica Plain. In Cuzco the group will volunteer at a local orphanage called St. Judas Tadeo.
School: Curley K-8 Theme: Teen Challenge: Restorative practices, Restorative justice Destination: St. Croix Project: To renovate another part of the Boys and Girls Club and participate in an experiential environmental learning project with St. Croix students. Educational Goal: to partner with students at the Boys and Girls Club in St. Croix and, together, implement new restorative practices while building relationships, and exploring common teen issues of both Curley and St. Croix students. Also to study environmental issues in St. Croix & Boston and develop an understanding of the interconnectedness of the world environment.
School: Fenway High School Theme: Hermandad: Volver y Corresponder Destination: The Dominican Republic Project: To continue last year’s work, in collaboration with the DREAM Project, on the community center by building shelves, chairs, painting and teaching classes in Art, ELA, and Technology. Goal: to return to the community center that Fenway students built and work within the Dominican-Haitian community to develop closer relationships with local residents. Also to explore issues of identity, and basic human rights, such as citizenship, nationality, education, healthcare, and sanitary living conditions and work together to become part of the solutions.
School: East Boston High School Theme: Transforming challenges into opportunities Destination: New Orleans Project: To help victims of Hurricane Katrina by building/renovating their house with Habitat for Humanity Goal: To explore how racism affected how decisions were made before, during and after Katrina. Also, to explore how Habitat is helping to provide better housing & safer communities for low-income people.
School: Urban Science Academy Theme: Face to Face: Unveiling The Legacy of Racism Destination: St. Croix Project: To build relationships between Urban Science students and St. Croix students via blog, a guided study of racism, interviews and volunteering together at the Queen Louise Home for Children. Educational Goal: To partner with students from Central Complex High School in St. Croix and help both groups understand how St. Croix and the U.S. legacies of slavery and institutional racism continue to affect the education system, economy, and government.