Students at the Long Beach Public Schools’ NIKE Work Based Learning Center are in the process of collecting donations for a school in South Carolina that was impacted during the recent flooding in October. After experiencing for themselves the destruction that natural disasters can cause during Superstorm Sandy in 2012, the students were inspired to give back and help others.
A committee of students known as the NIKE Group Initiative coordinates community service efforts and spearheaded this outreach project. Teacher-in-charge Howard Fuchs also played a role in fostering the connection with River Bluff High School in Lexington, South Carolina.
“Because of our experience with Sandy, after seeing the flooding with Hurricane Joaquin, we felt like we needed to reach out and help,” said junior and NIKE GI Project Manager Reef Ossandon. “Recently, we were able to Facetime with students from River Bluff to share stories and give some hope for the future, as we know it is desperately needed during this difficult time.”
NIKE GI coordinated a fundraising drive and gathered store gift cards, cash gift cards and direct online donations. On Oct. 29, during the third anniversary ceremony for Superstorm Sandy held in Kennedy Plaza, student volunteers loaded a truck with relief supplies designated for River Bluff High School.
“Being a part of the Group Initiative makes you feel good about yourself,” said senior and NIKE GI Corresponding Secretary Pam Deras.
“It's empowering for the group to come together and be a positive force,” said teaching assistant and NIKE GI advisor Sadie Garone. “Being part of this group raises maturity levels and challenges the students to see beyond their immediate environment [and] to explore lifestyles and hardships of others and the impact positive action can have.”
The NIKE Work Based Learning Center prepares students for postsecondary plans for the 21st century. Career awareness and exploration is an important aspect of all students’ educational experience and an integral part of college and career readiness. The center provides real-world experiences by extending the classroom to include the whole community, and gives students the opportunity to apply academic and technical skills to actual work. Students connect classroom instruction with learning in the workplace, and the experience becomes a meaningful and engaging educational opportunity.