By Christian Collins, Serving on the team at Carl G. Lauro Elementary School
Collaboration is an important component to our work as both a City Year members as well as an AmeriCorps member. Through teamwork, we are capable of accomplishing so much more than we would be able to individually. At Carl G. Lauro Elementary, we have the unique opportunity to collaborate with the AmeriCorps program at DownCity Design. DownCity Design is a program that utilizes the power and utility of design to help educate and empower youth. The students will learn the importance of collaboration and problem solving through the revitalization of a central area of the school’s playground.
Every Friday, the students gather with DownCity and City Year corps members to brainstorm ideas for the area. They come up with a wide variety of ideas, from uniquely designed lunch seating, to multi-tiered greenhouses. Though it is impossible to build each student’s design, the importance of the project lies within the process each student goes through in developing their ideas. According to Adrienne Gagnon who is the co-founder and Executive Director of DownCity Design, the students learn far more than just design; they learn skills in math, physics, and even environmental science. The most important skill that the students learn however, is the ability to learn, which they can begin using now and throughout their entire lives.
As of now, the project is still in its planning phases, and the students are still drafting their ideas. On the particular day I visited, they were showcasing the impressive models and diagrams they had made out of various craft supplies to illustrate their ideas for the project. Overall, the students enjoy the opportunity to take an active hand in improving their school, and are truly learning valuable life skills. The entire school is very excited to see the final result once Spring rolls around. Stay tuned!