“Concepts” – Day 1 of Project Citizen

New class, yet both old and new faces.

New and old students fill the seats of the same room that the former Project Citizen class used last year.

These beaming faces started their day with a couple of icebreakers.

First, they played a couple rounds of Truth or Dare before sharing biographies they created with fellow classmates. Next, the class went outside for a couple of silly games led by Activity Director, Ali.

After these fun games, the class went back inside to move onto a “Concepts” activity. In this activity, six signs were scattered around the classroom, each with a title on the top: Equity, America, Community, Global, Justice and Citizen.  Sharpies in hand, each group wrote how the dictionary or they themselves define the concepts.

Diverse answers filled those sheets of paper.

A heated discussion ensued on racial biases and the challenges those of lower income face in America. During this discussion, students expressed their opinions and shared their own memories of discrimination.

One student advocated that we play a game in which middle, lower income and upper class divided into three different groups. The students standing in the lower income section described privileges students who were both richer and white received that they did not.

This eye-opening experience highlighted personal experiences and hardships these students have gone through.

Many students, regardless of income, felt like they had learned much through this barrier-breaking discussion.

One student contributed that, “We got to know each other and qualities they have in common”. Another student commented that he, “Got to learn about everyone who spoke…because I don’t want to be ignorant or have stereotypes.”

He is not the only student who wants to bash stereotypical archetypes. One young woman said she would like to explore racism in America and another, stereotypes themselves. Other students discussed subjects such as teen suicide and heartbreak.

Already, these students are brainstorming on problems facing our world today.

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