We have been working so much on different projects about stopping litter that it was time to refocus. We have made reusable bags to lessen the use of grocery bags, started a hankie factory to lessen the use of tissues. We have laminated our anti-littering posters and placed them around campus, our "I vow to not litter" board is full of signatures. We have picked up litter on our campus and in the city, and we've started looking into launching a world wide social media campaign. Some of the children were concerned that we had too many disparate things going on. Taking their lead I felt we needed to slow down a little, figure out why we were doing all these different things and then refocus our thoughts. Anna once again to the rescue, she called in Patience Salgado to help us - Patience is known as the Kindness Girl (kindnessgirl.com). She has made a life of spreading kindness and has even undertaken a project with the local trash men that inspired our thankyou notes.
Patience told us about some of her projects, then invited the children to share theirs. So they told her about their goal of ridding the world of litter. How they had had litter pick ups not only at school but also at Abner Clay Park. How they had put up signs and invited others to share in picking up the trash. They told her about their thank you notes for the trash men and how they wanted to throw them a party. The discussion was animated as the class gleefully told her all they had done, they are so proud of their work.
The class were then invited to focus in on their work and to think of it in the categories of:
Humanity - What do we have in common? How are we in this thing together?
Advocacy - What do we want to change in the world? Who do we want to empower?
Community - School? Neighborhood? City? World?
Whais important? Simple? Accessible? Free/low cost?
Guerilla - What do we want to say? What do we want to rise?
On large sheets of paper the children crowded around the tables eargerly sharing their
"I would like to make a litter free world."
"I want to talk with the trash people and help them receive respect."
"I want people to understand people do so much for us, like the trash men."
"People need to understand the problem and what people do for them."
"I want people to think differently about litter."
They also decided that their project needed to be public, involve the community and be BIG!
Breaking down their project into these categories really helped the class focus in on their project. To remind them of the main ideas of their work, and their intentions. Also Patience was so intrigued by their work, and so on board with what they were trying to accomplish, that the children really did feel that they were indeed making a difference with what they were doing. She noticed that they were "trying to change the world's attitude towards litter, and educating each other.....knowing what the problem is and how it affects us."
They then had to be sure of their Call. What is a call? Patience explained to them that it is something they need to do, something they have a passion for and only works if they believe in it.
At the end of a wonderfully rich discussion Patience asked us to keep checking in with her. She told the class "I am so grateful for you and am proud that you are in our city."
So all geared up we headed back to think about our call- what did we really want to accomplish? Do all these different things we are doing match with our goal?
Working closely with Anna we relooked at our original question for our project.
"How can we make Richmond a better place for children?" Then brainstormed on how to match it with what we were doing.
We now have our call.
"We want to make Richmond a clean happy place by picking up litter, and we think that making it fun is important to add to the happiness and brightness. If everyone picks up litter we can leave positive messages and create a positive idea of Richmond."
I think that is pretty attainable!