When Xpress asked local educators for ideas about the focus of the annual Kids Issue, two distinct ideas rose to the top: activism and a kid’s view of the world. This week we focused on activism. We received a cornucopia of submissions, including the one you see below.
What activism means to me is help for those who need it. It means doing our very best to notice and solve problems that exist in our own backyards, in our own communities. We need to be observant. Heads up, community: These problems exist, and they deserve our attention.
There are many good things in our community, but there are areas that could use improvement. For instance, in my school, we used about 250 Styrofoam meal trays every day, which cannot be recycled or composted. As the School of Ecology, my school’s student council, which I am on, agreed that this needed to change. We came up with the idea of using compostable trays and sporks to replace the Styrofoam ones. Some of us chose to be on a grant-writing committee that could help us get funds to support our project. Mrs. [Robbie] Lipe, our council administrator, told us about Donorschoose.org grants, and so we wrote a grant and put it on the Donorschoose.org website. Our grant goal was fulfilled in a matter of days! We recently spoke to the Asheville City Schools board members about our project, and we hope to inspire other schools to follow our lead.
Some other ways I have engaged in activism have been being involved in a march on Haywood Road to help slow drivers down and stop at crosswalks, participating in a series of rallies to promote fair pay for our teachers, and helping raise awareness about storm drains affecting stream quality. Other problems are the many homeless people, hungry children and more. These are not easy-fix problems; they are ongoing. Alas, they cannot be completely solved, but that doesn’t mean that they cannot be helped. They can be helped little by little, step by step, with the support of volunteers and nonprofit organizations. I have engaged in activism many times, and I intend to continue giving some of my thought, worry and action to the problems in our community and in the world. I believe that all problems can at least be helped.
— Willamina K. Ingle, Vance Elementary School, fifth grade