"Critical Issues" at a Critical Age
by Sean Powers, AmeriCorps Fellow, Hastings Middle School and Upper Arlington High School
Of everything at the "Critical Issues Summit" at the Mid-Ohio Food Bank on March 21 that struck me as compelling, one moment sticks out in my mind the most. Molly Miely's students at Jones Middle School are known across the district for the impressive amount of projects that they do to help alleviate hunger in the local community. And on this day, a few representatives came to the Summit to talk about the work that they have done and why it is important.
These students amazed me not only for the grasp each of them held on the work that they have done, but their ability to answer questions without hesitation. One student even fielded a question that appeared to be directed towards Mrs. Miely. She almost visibly snatched it out of the air and gave an excellent response that really displayed the depth of which she understood the impact of the work that she has done.
Prior to the student panel, we had listened to a panel of community leaders. They were professionals whose jobs are to tackle problems of hunger and homelessness. These are the same issues these students have worked to help alleviate, but on a larger scale. Ellen Erlanger, Project Co-Director, made an excellent observation . . . "these children could some day be in those leaders' positions." I think the students have a leg up on those wonderful adult leaders, if only because they have have been empowered with an ability to make a difference at such an early age. I certainly did not have the perspective that these students have now when I was their age.
Whether or not these children grow up to cure a disease, end homelessness, or fight hunger remains to be seen. But at the very least, they have had invaluable experiences that makes them more informed citizens that will hopefully use their knowledge to help them make decisions that will positively impact the future of our country.
" . . . these children could some day be in those leaders' positions." (Referring to leaders from Community Shelter Board, Habitat for Humanity--MidOhio, and Mid-Ohio Foodbank)