If you want to make a large impact in society, start in your own community.
That’s one of the lessons rising 6th and 7th graders get during our Community Circles exercises, which begin each day of summer program. The 30-minute Community Circles focus on topics that aren’t typically addressed in school. “Students at this age are curious about a lot of different things,” said lead teacher Johnathan Reaves. “And, since our facilitators are not that much older than the students themselves, the students often find they can relate to them better.”
A recent Community Circles discussion compared the church shooting in Charleston to the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham. Another dealt with cyber bullying via Instagram, Facebook and other social media. “We stress to the students that they need to be aware of what they post and to be careful not to reveal their location,” said Reaves.
Community Circles are the last activity the students take part in together before breaking into academic groups. “Our hope is that the Community Circles help prepare the students to approach their academics—and their lives—with curiosity and an open mind,” said Reaves.