Lakota students study, vote on which charity gets $1,000

It is one thing for teens to learn from supporting community service groups and a whole different sort of lesson for them to decide which ones should be funded.

But that was the class project for some students this week at Lakota East Freshman School: Decide which of three community service groups making presentations at the Liberty Township school should receive $1,000 in grant money.

For weeks students from Heather Campbell’s Lakota East Butler Tech’s “Magnified Giving” program had researched, discussed and voted to whittle down the dozens of Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky social service agencies to the three finalists who took to the auditorium stage to pitch the teens for the $1,000.

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“I do Magnified Giving as a cross-curricular project in my English 9 and Connections (Career-Based Intervention) classes,” explained teacher Heather Campbell.

“We work on analytical skills, research writing, argumentative presentations, identifying your own personal value system, and becoming active and positive change-agents in our community,” said Campbell.

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“Students started by brainstorming areas of need in the community. Then they looked at three agencies that met a need they were interested in - veterans services, abuse victims, hunger, homelessness, mental health, elderly, etc. Each student wrote a paper on the agency they though best met the area of need they were interested in. They then developed a persuasive presentation on that agency which they presented to their class advocating why their agency should get our $1000 grant,” she said.

The students listened attentively as officials from Hamilton-based Serve City, Warren County’s Abuse & Rape Shelter and Northern Kentucky’s Women’s Crisis Center spoke to them about what they do, who they serve and how the student’s grant money will help those served by their organizations.

Christy Burch, director of prevention for the Women’s Crisis Center, told students “part of what your funds would help us do is to send a message that (domestic) violence is not okay.”

Freshman Oscar Lopez-DeLeon was impressed with the Burch’s presenter from the Women’s Crisis Center.

Oscar said “she shared a lot of facts about the situation and was very convincing.”

The majority of his two dozen classmates shared his opinion and voted to award the $1,000 to the center.

The value of the unusual class lesson goes far beyond the money given, said Campbell.

“After completing this project I find my students much more aware of needs in their community, more sympathetic to those in need, and empowered to know they can make a difference,” she said.

Many of the students, even those whose favorite cause didn’t make it to the final round, go on to volunteer and donate their time and personal money, she said.

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