I declare that the best Valentine is one that we can give to the community to show that we have love, respect, and hope for kids and schools.
I still believe that this is true. In fact, I have become even more dedicated to this idea over the past two weeks as I’ve discussed this project with my students, my friends, my family, and my new world of blog readers/writers.
For my final post in this challenge before I take a few days off, I challenge us all to simply connect. In class today, we were discussing all of the work that my students have been doing in the community (at four different community partner sites) and lamenting the often wide gap between services/resources and student and organization needs. I detailed one such gap referencing a student and the project he was working on for a local GED completion program (all names have been changed): “For example, Adam is working with an organization that wants to put together a music enrichment program after school to offer guitar lessons, but there is no funding, no teacher, and no guitars.” And right in that moment, another student raised his hand and said, “I’ll do it. I’ll teach the lessons. And I have four guitars. I can share.” It was one of those beautiful moments, a moment when things finally come together and there’s a feeling of hopefulness.
What did this moment teach me? That we need to connect with one another to do this work for kids and schools. We need to speak about what we know. We need to ask questions when we’re looking for answers. We need to voice the skills, talents, and resources that we have to share. We need to express what the gaps and the hopes are for local organizations. We need to network. We need to be louder. And we can allow ourselves to be more hopeful.
While this is the last post in the Valentine’s Challenge, it is only the beginning of my rekindled excitement about the sharing work that can be done through the PDX Education Action Network, my teaching, and the connections that can happen in the classroom and out in the world.
Pass on the message. Keep coming back to stay informed and to share your experiences. Much love to you all.