Civic Engagement is an instructional strategy that engages students in their local, national and global community as a learner as well as a social agent. Research has determined that students who are involved in civically engaged activities are more apt to developing a positive youth identity, become more democratically engaged citizens and are more apt to take ownership of their learning and of their world. For this reason, the Glencoe Junior High Project is committed to providing Civic Engagement opportunities to Central School students throughout the year.
The GJHP Civic Engagement Program offers Glencoe middle school students the opportunity to engage with local community members and their organizations for the purposes of building social awareness and civic mindedness. Each month, GJHP offers a continuum of Civic Engagement opportunities to students.
GJHP provides students with a wide range of civic engagement opportunities that seek to raise their level of social consciousness and involvement. Specifically, this year GJHP will sponsor civic engagement opportunities for students to volunteer at the following:
- A Just Harvest: a community soup kitchen located in the Rogers Park Community, unique in that it serves 365 meals days a year to anyone in need.
- Uptown Café: Chicago’s first kosher anti-hunger program, unique in that it serves meals restaurant style in an effort to bring hope, dignity and sustenance to people in need.
- Cradles 2 Crayons Giving Factory (C2C): an organization providing children from birth to age 12 with the essentials they need to thrive- at home, at school and at play. C2C provides new & like new clothing, shoes, baby essentials, books & toys to distribute to children in need of those essential items in our community.
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- CJE Senior Life: students volunteer with residents in the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Unit of the facility, and bring amazing energy and joy to the senior residents. They play games, do crafts, sing songs, and have a chance to share their own talents by playing music to the residents on Music Share Day.
- Bernie’s Book Bank: BBB collects new and gently used books and redistributes them to at-risk children throughout the Chicagoland area. Students help collect, sort, sticker and bag collections for redistribution.
- Book Buddies: a 10-week literacy program created by GJHP which runs several times throughout the year. It pairs middle school students with K-2nd graders to mentor them with reading fluency, ensuring all of the participants have fun, build personal connections and complete the program with a great sense of pride and accomplishment.
- Glencoe Community Garden (GCG): built last year and located in Glencoe, students regularly help out in the GCG, a sustainable, organic, food-producing mini-farm and garden, where 100% of the harvest is donated to local food kitchens, pantries and other charitable organizations.
In addition to these regular weekly and monthly programs, students also do a variety of one-time civic engagement projects throughout the year (i.e. various food, clothing, school supply collection drives; Project Linus to create fleece blankets, New Trier Township Food Pantry to collect and assemble Thanksgiving food packages)