Executive Director's Corner: Conscious Citizenship
What does it mean to be a conscious citizen? However we choose to define our role, it must include both our awareness in thought and our response in action to the matters that mean the most to us.
In 2012, I worked at a K-12 private school with 2,000 students. Like many other schools, children spend 8 hours a day in classroom buildings and on campus. How could we help these students understand that what they were learning every day in here was really happening out there in the world and they could do something about it?
We decided to host a Public Purpose Fair in March 2012; a campus-wide event of service projects, assemblies, and workshops focused on how our community can, and does, strive to make a better world through courses, programs, and co-curricular experiences.
Every single student participated. In the morning, students attended workshops and learned about sustainability, health, and wellness. In the afternoon, we brought different organizations on campus to lead service projects with the students. We made 45 rain barrels to donate to local schools to collect water for their gardens, put together medical kits to be sent overseas, and made blankets for the local women’s shelter, just to name a few. For educating our students on the value of service in a community event, we won a Best of Green Schools Award that year from the Center for Green Schools.
Schools must be a space for creative thinking, a source of inspiration, and a starting point for developing a sense of awareness and responsibility. By following education with action, students had the knowledge and tools to wholly understand that what they did made a difference to others. I am confident this one day of service helped pave the way for these students to continue to take small steps toward meaningful change every day.
Everyone, including the youngest members of our community, can do something for the betterment of our world. I encourage you to ask yourself, “What can I do today to make a difference?”