BY TRISHA SAKHUJA
The Young Women’s Leadership Academy in Astoria recently received two service-learning grants, totaling $1,000.
On Jan. 12, the eighth graders at the school were awarded two grants of $500 each from the 9/12 Generation Project, an organization dedicated to offering educators unique ways to teach the younger generation about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
“Middle school students weren’t born in 2001, so many don’t have any real understanding of the history of September 11 or what happened on 9/12,” Lori Sullivan, project manager of the 9/12 Generation Project, said.
The organization invited 14 of its focus schools in NY and NJ to apply, and from the 28 grant applications returned, three schools were chosen and four grants were awarded.
The Day of Service grant is awarded based on a rubric designed to focus on a project description that meets the community’s need, while using innovative ideas to meet that need. Overall, it has to show community involvement and service.
The girls at the Young Women’s Academy chose two projects, one being the “Readers R US,” which focuses on literacy with young children and the elderly. The other project, titled “Mailing the Words from the Heart,” consists of mailing letters to deployed military personnel.
Principal Laura Mitchell said she is proud of her students.
“They took the initiative and have done so much to help the local community,” she said.
The students were inspired to volunteer after watching the 9/12 Generation Project documentary film. The 45-minute film follows the New York Says Thank You foundation as volunteers rebuild areas hit by disasters each year on the week of Sept. 11.
Noreen Abouelnaga, 13, said sometimes people underestimate them because they are still young.
“But we understand there are problems outside of our school,” she said. “The difference is – we’re now taking action.”
Through the years, the 9/12 Generation Project has evolved into more than what it started as. It teaches students ways to overcome tragedy through hope and support. The Character Education curriculum the project provides also teaches core values of compassion, kindness, citizenship, volunteering, diversity and empowering survivors.
For more information about the 9/12 Generation Project, visit www.912generationproject.org.
Reach Trisha Sakhuja at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @Tsakhuja13