By Sixth Grade Dean, Hannah Scarritt-Selman, and the 6th Grade Team
This school year, sixth graders participated in a Mutual Aid Project. This important and experiential work encapsulated so many of our progressive values and ideals, and connected students to their community and each other.
Sixth graders began by defining what mutual aid is, learning that mutual aid groups are made up of organizers and volunteers who respond to the needs of their communities. We discussed that mutual aid is about bringing people together, building relationships with neighbors, treating everyone as valuable, and providing support. While mutual aid can encompass a lot of different aspects of community care, as a grade we decided to work on a project focusing on community gardens, community fridges, and taking care of our community, both on the Upper West Side and throughout New York City.
We showed some love to the Green Roof and 3rd floor terrace garden, and grew our own food to be shared with community fridges in the area. We also partnered with businesses in the neighborhood, connecting the infrastructures already present in food establishments. The sixth grade also launched a plant sale, and all the proceeds went directly towards mutual aid organizations and community fridges.
To accomplish all of this, each sixth grader selected a sub-committee to participate in.
Foodie Outreach Team: This team aimed to build partnerships in the community with restaurants and food vendors to help reduce food waste and use leftover products to address food insecurity. They built and researched a list of local businesses to approach, and developed a mission statement to use in outreach.
Website Team: This team designed a web page dedicated to our plant sale. The group spent time in math classes coming up with prices for each plant, working out total costs and potential profits from the sale. The team members also came up with descriptions of each plant and some usages.
Art & Design Team: This team created the brand identity that was used to promote the project. Team members were prompted to come up with an image (digital or hand-drawn) inspired by plants. Illustrations were made into art for the website and social media. They also planned out labels for each plant in the gardens.
Demolition & Planting Team: This team prepared the 3rd floor terrace for the new soil and plants, and did the planting. They harvested mint and oregano from the Green Roof for our plant sale, and worked with Calhoun chefs to design a space where everyone in the community can enjoy some nature!
Social Media Team: This team created a social media campaign for our plant sale, and they planned content that shared more about each plant with the community.
Thanks to everyone in the community who participated in and supported this project!