Hampton middle schoolers learn they can create change
Hampton Middle School students spend an entire day exploring firsthand the struggles of the less fortunate around the world in the school's annual “Be the Change” day.
Each year, about 250 seventh-graders participate in the daylong event during which they completed activities and exercises focused on various local and world issues.
“They are challenged to how (they can) be the change,” said Greg Shumaker, a seventh-grade teacher who helped organize this year's event.
“I'm hoping the students get an awareness of the have and have-nots and how fortunate they are for what they have and how they can help others out. We want to start planting the seeds to think about how they can impact the world in a positive manner.”
In each activity, students were given a different challenge to explore.
During one period, students were given the opportunity to make change by researching entrepreneurs through Kiva Microfunds, a nonprofit organization that allows people to lend money through online donations to low-income and underserved entrepreneurs, and at the end of the period, each of the seven classes chose one entrepreneur to give $75.
One seventh-grade class voted to donate its $75 to Zeeshan, a man in Pakistan with five children who wanted to purchase winter goods to sell in his store.
“We saw him and saw he had no money raised, so we decided to help him,” said Max Obenrader, a seventh-grader. “I thought it was cool he was actually going to get $75.”
Students learned about the lack of clean water in many countries and created water filters using sand, gravel and charcoal.
Students explored the sacrifices families need to make when budgeting for their households in an exercise that presented a family scenario that ranged from two working parents with children to a senior citizen on a fixed income.
Another activity divided students into groups and assigned a country and corresponding budget to build a house with items that ranged from building blocks to straws.
Elizabeth Dolan, a seventh-grader who designed the “Be the Change” day T-shirts, was in a group assigned to Africa and given $30.
Students assigned to North America received $400.
“It was a pipe-cleaner house with note cards taped to it that fell apart in two minutes,” Dolan said of her group's structure. “North America should lend money and be the change for other countries who don't have anything.”
One of the most labor-intensive activities required of the students was to carry a five-gallon bucket of water about a quarter of a mile around the inside of the gymnasium and school building.
“At first it was kind of easy, but once you got to the auditorium and had to walk uphill, it got kind of heavy,” said Anahita Kodali, seventh-grader.
“You got a taste of how women and children have to walk miles and miles to get water. I couldn't believe women and children would walk 20 miles a day to get water because I'm walking a quarter mile, and I'm done.”
Teachers also asked that the students not eat after dinner the night before so they could experience hunger while completing the “Be the Change” assignments. The students broke their fast at 2 p.m. with a spaghetti lunch.
“It's been eye opening because we in Hampton don't understand what it's like to be hungry and not have a home or walk to get water,” Kodali said.
Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Photo Gallery: Ross Township fishing tournament
- Photo Gallery: Ice cream-eating contest at Bruster’s of Ingomar
- North Allegheny grad named a Presidential Scholar
- Natural playground in Ross fits Montessori model of education
- Franklin Park professor honored for making science accessible to students
- Price to park going up for Pine-Richland students
- Effort ignited to save landmark Wexford deli