Saturday, May 4, 2013

Social Justice Event- Walkathon

In addition to my service learning project, I volunteer at another school as well. I also volunteer at George J. Peters Elementary School in Cranston. I usually go about one or two days a week depending on my schedule and I work with the afternoon kindergarten class. Last week I was asked to help out during the schools Annual Walkathon. Since kindergarten is only two and a half hours, they do not get to walk as long as the other children do. They are only able to walk about half the time as the other students. A few weeks before the Walkathon, teachers send home news letters that tell a little about the Walkathon and then they also send home a donation sheet. It works out well for the school and for the children for two main reasons. One is that the children get to spend time with their parents, if there parents do come to walk and the school gives away prizes to the people who raise the most money, so this gives them a little extra motivation. This also helps the school raise a lot of money, which sometimes goes to programs at the school and sometimes goes to charities.

One article that I can relate my Social Justice Event to is Alan Johnson's "Privilege, Power, and Difference". Throughout Johnson's article, he tells us about the issues and differences that wee see in society today and some of us might even face there differences. Johnson mainly talks about race, social class, and gender but I think that I can include the Walkathon into his article. The Walkathon is some thing for everyone to participate in. Any family, any gender, any race, and any grade. There is no discrimination at this time and I think Johnson would really be impressed with this because he just wants us to "work together to share the space in the world." We are all working together to give donations and walk for many causes, as the charity changes every year. During the Walkathon, everyone is there for one charity, one cause. No matter the race, gender, or social class, everyone puts their differences aside for this event. I was really honored that I was asked to be part of such an amazing walk that took place at a somewhat diverse elementary school. I just loved seeing all the children getting along, having fun, and coming together for this one cause. This has by far been one of my favorite events at George J. Peters Elementary School.

Another article that I would like to relate this to is "Charity or Change?" by Kahne and Westheimer. For me in this situation, I feel as though this is just charity work for me. I am just walking around the school yard with about fifteen six year-old children, hoping that I can keep them all in one group and keep them all together. But for them and for the students of George J. Peters, this is an example of change for them. They are walking for a cause. Sometimes it is a charity and other times it is to raise money for something in their school. Either way, if it is for something in their school, they are going to raise money to afford something they could not before, therefore it will be something new added to their school. If they are doing it for a charity, then they are donating a lot of money to a charity that did not have as much money before, therefore they are making a change to this charity and I am sure that the charities that I do receive money from these Walkathon programs are very grateful and appreciate every penny they are receiving.

The last article I wish to connect my Social Justice Event to is "Brown VS Board of Ed/Can Separate be Equal?". Except, I have a counter and very upsetting example. As I walked around the school with my kindergarten class, we could see inside some of my classrooms. I went to this school when I was little and so did my sister, so I know exactly where the special education room is, there is only one room and it is located right near the playground. It just so happens that during our Walkathon, we walked right through the playground and past this special education room and unfortunately, none of the special education children were outside during the Walkathon. It honestly got me really upset because right as I walked by I just thought in my head "this is not equal." Brown VS Board talks about how issues dealing with race in the 1950's were unequal and it just broke my heart to see that maybe it has changed with race, but why not with disabilities? They are no different and should not be discriminated like this. Not only are these students separated from regular classrooms, but they are not even participating in school functions. This just shows me that separate is not equal and it makes me ask myself "will it ever be equal?" Not only should students with disabilities get the same learning privileges as other students, but there is no reason why they can not participate in schools functions like a Walkathon.

1 comment:

  1. powerful connections, Alyssa. Can't believe you made time to do TWO volunteer experiences this spring!