D-Term 2008-09 Poverty

D-Term is an interdisciplinary and experiential service learning project that takes place in the final year of Middle School.  Each year, a topic is chosen for the St. Stephen’s 8th Grade Students to study in depth. One of St. Stephen's goals is to help create responsible global citizens who value social justice.  Before one can be a good global citizen, one must first learn how to be a good local citizen. This year the eighth graders have studied poverty in depth. They focused on poverty in Austin and the organizations that locally help and support the poor. 
The students identifed and researched specific areas of this main subject. This year the students chose to study poverty in regards to Mental Health, Physical Health, Food, Shelter, Clothing and Education. Each student then selected a task group within these sub-topics in which to participate.   Assignments ("task groups") within the groups are:
Reporters, Web-Designers, Photographers, Power Point Creators, Chapel Coordinators and Bloggers
The students spent the entire semester in research through reading, personal interviews and volunteer service. The topic of poverty has been integrated into every class. Beginning in October, we had a special speaker series in chapel where leaders from the community came and shared their view points and experiences with regards to fighting poverty in Austin.  After completing the research portion of the project, students then spent two days volunteering with various local non profit organizations in town. At the end of the project, each of the six groups prepared and made a presentation about their specific aspect of poverty.