Notes from WtS Louisville, KY: Crafting Purpose Statements

What’s the Story? Louisville Youth Community Wellness Advocates (WtSL) participants continued their program’s pilot year at Valaterra, a retreat center roughly 30 minutes from downtown Louisville in nearby Oldham County, KY. Among other activities, including a healthy mix of spontaneity and laughter, the overnight retreat on January 14th helped to focus participants’ purpose statements for their work. Unlike their counterparts in Vermont, most students in Louisville are pursuing individual projects. Here is a sampling of student statements:

  • For What’s the Story?, Olivia and I are going to make a training video for Jefferson County Public School teachers, explaining that gender stereotyping in early education does not advance a child’s education.

  • For What’s the Story?, I am planning to create a set changes that could be applied to Louisville, and I’d like to propose these solutions to the city planners as to dampen the effects of the Urban Heat Island Effect.

  • For What’s the Story?, I will be creating an event for teenagers and parents in the Fern Creek community where everyone can have the opportunity to be educated and aware about sex so that they can live happier and healthier lives.

Moving forward, the WtSL crew will gather face-to-face monthly in order to continue experimenting with a structure intended to maximize the promise of blended learning. A final celebration of student work is being planned for May, and while there is a long way to go from purpose statements to more tangible products, Program Director and Lead Teacher Paul Barnwell is encouraged. “Despite still working through some institutional hurdles, most kids and all of our mentor teachers are fully engaged, especially during our face-to-face gatherings,” he said. In addition, he said he hopes to visit Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf Mountain Campus during the summer, bringing along several students and mentors.

Check out some pictures of deep learning in action from the Valaterra retreat.

Tim O'Leary

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