The Racial Justice Connection
While identifying personal leadership traits, youth will participate in a series of experiential education activities designed to explore race as a social construct in America. Youth will develop and practice communication skills in order to complete tasks and meet goals as a group. Youth will attempt to define race, explore the history of race in America and learn about structural, social and psychological implications racism has had on American civilization. While exploring the concept of race, youth will learn about the divisiveness of stereotypes and discover what they can do in order to stand for racial justice in the City of Memphis.
The Environmental Justice Connection
Youth will explore what it means to be leaders for environmental justice. Youth will define environment and explore different Memphis environments. Youth will discover how environmental benefits and burdens can be unequally distributed when one community’s needs are put before the needs of the larger community. Youth will examine case studies to see how environmental injustice affects communities in Memphis. Youth will identify ways community members have stood up to advance environmental justice. Youth will identify how they can become leaders to advance environmental justice.
The Economic Justice Connection
Youth will explore the complex issue of economic justice in Memphis. Youth will understand how the concepts of living wage, income and wealth affect individuals, families, neighborhoods and communities. Youth will explore how economic inequality affects individuals and communities. Finally, youth will explore ways local communities build on community assets to increase economic justice.
The Educational Justice Connection
Youth will be introduced to the concept of educational justice. Students will identify the purpose of public education in America and explore local history of public education. Youth will identify specific, desired improvements in the schools and/or school district in their community. Participants will develop an action plan to effect change on four issues that significantly affect the quality of education they receive in their community.
The Community Connection
Youth will explore what it means to build community in order to be leaders for justice. Youth will learn about the diversity and individual strengths within their group and the importance of having diverse talents and strengths when building community. Youth will teach each other about the communities they are part of in Memphis and the strengths of each community. Youth will understand how individuals’ strengths, combined with other assets in a community can be activated to create change.
The Leadership Connection
While participating in experiential education activities, youth will identify their personal leadership qualities. Exploring the traits of leaders who have affected social change, youth will identify the qualities, habits, and values of a leader. Youth will engage in activities that require them to embrace their leadership skills and share them with the group in order to complete assigned tasks. Youth will explore the “anatomy of a leader,” identify where their personal strengths lie. Youth will learn about four different ways to lead positive community change: direct service, education, advocacy, and community organizing.
Youth will explore what it means to be leaders for environmental sustainability. Through a hands-on, interactive tour of the BRIDGES Center, youth will learn the concepts of green building design, including water conservation, energy conservation, sustainable resources, indoor air quality, and land use. Youth will identify opportunities for individual and collective action to promote sustainability and will discuss how to apply green building concepts to their homes and school. Youth will practice positive communication and teamwork.