Project SERVE: An Afternoon Dedicated to Service Learning

Project SERVE is an opportunity for our students in Bosque’s Upper School to descend upon Albuquerque and surrounding areas to learn about issues related to their Service Learning groups’ missions and to lend a hand. From 11 am–3:15 pm on Wednesday, October 2, students took up causes such as hunger, food justice, animal injustice, human rights, economic development, physical and mental disabilities, literacy, arts, and so much more. The Upper School, divided into 12 groups composed of 9th–11th graders, ventured to different places in Albuquerque. The senior class was a group of its own and focused on agri-cultura efforts by spending the afternoon at Chispas Farms, SpeakEasy Farms, Los Jardines Institute, and Los Jardines de Moctezuma.

Amnesty International
Affiliated with the global umbrella organization, this group raises awareness and participates in campaigns pertaining to human rights violations across the world. Our main focus this year is tutoring refugee students who have relocated to the Albuquerque area. Partners include Van Buren Middle School Newcomers group and Catholic Charities of New Mexico.

During Project Serve, this group spent time preparing for their year of activities with the Van Buren Middle School Newcomers (refugee) Homework Club, after-school tutoring, and friendship-making. They met with community partners Michelle Esquibel, State Refugee Mental Health Director; Peace Izabayo with Catholic Charities; and Nani Detti, NM Student Coordinate, Amnesty International.

“My group will build from this experience because we gained a lot of information on how to become a friend and ally to refugees. Everyone in the group is also very motivated to make a difference and make new friends.” ~Livi ‘22

AIPS - Animal Injustice Prevention Society
Working to improve the lives and rights of animals in our community and in the world. The main community partners are Animal Humane Society and other organizations focused on animal welfare.

AIPS members took an educational field trip to the Wildlife West Nature Park in Edgewood and partnered with Animal Humane and ABQ BioPark. This group plans to complete a pond restoration project which will improve habitats for animals.

“We learned that there are many people here in New Mexico who share our values in protecting animal rights. This is important because it helps inspire my group members and shows them that change, even at a local level, is possible.” ~Benjamin ‘21
 
BATS - Bosque Arts Therapy Society
To provide art education to the under-served children in the community who don’t have regular access to art programs. Also, to broaden and inspire their artistic talents on a personal level and encourage growth and self-enlightenment. Primary partners are Reginald Chavez Elementary School after-care program and Zia Elementary School program for children who are visually impaired.

BATS held a workshop on Bosque’s campus with Special Education experts; it was designed to help the service learning students develop an understanding of their visually impaired friends at Zia Elementary school.

“I believe that this was important to our group because it taught us how to work with and better understand kids with visual impairments. This will give us the power to do even more good for our next Project SERVE when we go to Zia Elementary.” ~Luc ‘22

Best Buddies
Best Buddies works to create opportunities for one-to-one friendships and leadership development for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Our chapter is matched with John Baker Elementary School classrooms supporting children with IDD.

The Best Buddies service learning group spent their Project SERVE afternoon visiting John Baker Elementary School’s IDD classrooms. They engaged with students over a community lunch and friendship games. They focused on forming friendships that will help build bridges for future/ongoing activities.

“It was important for our group to observe the kids and to realize that having a disability doesn't define who they are. I noticed that the group members didn't know what the expect upon arrival but soon became comfortable with the kids throughout the morning.” ~Mya ‘21

BUST - Bosque Union for Safe Teens
To support Bosque School students in their choices towards becoming healthier people using education from teens - for teens about nutrition, body positivity, and general mental wellness. BUST group members receive training through community partnerships. In turn, they use on-campus peer-to-peer models to raise awareness about a particular issue.

Students in BUST visited the Eating Disorders Treatment Center (EDTC) this Project SERVE for an initial immersion into topics identified in an all upper-school survey that was conducted. Their visit was facilitated by EDTC’s experts and therapists.

“It connected the group members and made us feel like it was okay and good to talk about these sensitive topics. I observed that we were all opening up to each other and stepping out of our comfort zones.” ~Julia ‘21

CAFS - Community Activists for Food Security
To gain an understanding of food justice and volunteer to help alleviate food insecurity through community-based systems that promote equitable access to nutritious food. Primary partners are The Storehouse and Rio Grande Food Project.

The CAFS service learning group spent their afternoon working at The Storehouse
Food Pantry. They also planned for the upcoming Youth Ambassador program and developed a training plan for Bosque students as Saturday morning tour guides.

“It was a great start to our year by providing a good introduction to what is to be expected with our community activism. We partnered with a group that shared our same core values of creating a community to help with food security.” ~Ezra ‘21

HPA - Harry Potter Alliance
This group is an Albuquerque chapter of an international non-profit organization whose mission is to inspire and empower the community through the books they read to make the world a more “magical” place. Bosque’s HPA focuses on literacy issues in greater Albuquerque through special events, book drives, and other literacy projects.

“The Harry Potter Alliance group had a full afternoon of Project SERVE activities, beginning with Margarent Barker, a wonderful guest speaker from Reading Works, which is a volunteer-run program teaching adults across the state literacy-based skills. As a volunteer in the program, Margaret Barker shared stories and strategies about teaching literacy, and helped us brainstorm fun, creative ways to promote reading as we go out into the wider-Albuquerque community for upcoming events. The next activity focused on editing, revising, and illustrating original children’s stories created by last year’s HPA group. These stories will be translated into non-English languages commonly spoken in Albuquerque and then published for distribution across the state. The afternoon continued with the planning and creating of educational, kid-friendly activities to do at The Storehouse, the largest food pantry in the state located in Albuquerque, at Broadway and Central. HPA is honored to partner with The Storehouse where four large book give-aways and reading events will be held throughout the school year. HPA ended the productive, wonderful day focusing on prepping for Zine Fest where local writers and artists buy, sell, and trade original zines. This is an annual event, which was held at the National Hispanic Cultural Center on October 5. This was the 3rd year HPA group members volunteered at the event.” ~Mary ‘21, Sofia ‘21, Atlanta ‘21

HH4HH - Helping Hands for Helping Homes
The primary partner is Casa Angelica, a residential program. Students support children and adults with developmental disabilities to thrive in an environment that is loving, safe, creative, and comfortable. HH4HH is committed to raising awareness about equity and justice for people with developmental disabilities through educational campaigns, both on and off campus.

For this Project SERVE, the group had a discussion with Alex Levine, BEMP Education Coordinator, about ableism and equity. They assessed Bosque paths for wheelchair accessibility and planned for upcoming projects.

“This was very important to our Service Learning program because we are able to see that people on campus care about the things we are learning about. We are also able to see the challenges that people with disabilities face and would face on a campus we walk around everyday.” ~Jordyn ‘21

MMC- Makers Making Change
Using creative makerspace approaches, to make Assistive Technology (AT) more accessible for individuals with disabilities with the goal of improving their lives.

For this Project SERVE, the group had a call with MMC’s program director and discussed assistive technology with Alice Shriver, president of 505access, an expert company in making custom-assistive technologies. Group members also experimented with ideas and materials for their own technologies and planned future events for the year.

“This experience was important because it provided context for the work that we are doing this year and why it matters and how it works.” ~Victoria ‘21

MRC - Medical Reserve Corps
To provide medical care for the Bosque School and greater New Mexico community by practicing trained skills as certified first responders, as well as participating in the state's disaster preparedness response program.

MRC group members visited UNM to learn more about Project ECHO, distance medical care, and medical education.

“I think it was important for our group because we were able to learn about different medical professions that are not commonly known. It was really interesting to learn about how we could use our medical skills outside of a hospital setting.” ~Maria-Luisa ‘21

WAC - Womxn’s Advocacy Coalition
To collaborate with and create agency for womxn and fem folk, and to open a dialogue based on reformative and intersectional values within Bosque School and the greater Albuquerque community. Primary partners are Crossroads for Women and ACLU with a focus on advocacy for restoring voter’s rights.

“Project SERVE provided a great out-of-the-classroom learning experience in many ways. We went to Crossroads for Women, a nonprofit organization that helps women recently released from incarceration adjust to their everyday lives. Our service project included organizing their donation room and tidying up their property, as well as learning more about the various programs provided by Crossroads. We will continue this collaboration throughout the year.

We also partnered with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and participated in a racial equity workshop. During this session we learned about identifying implicit and explicit biases and how to define racism vs. prejudice. We later talked about using the language of the criminal justice system in a way that doesn’t dehumanize those who have experienced incarceration. We plan to further explore these topics with the ACLU throughout this year, ultimately collaborating more with Crossroads clients to bring attention to restoration of voters’ rights. Thank you to Crossroads for Women and Dalilah for hosting us! Thank you to the ACLU representatives who are dedicating their time and expertise to this partnership!” ~Aidan ‘23

WOKE
Supporting Bosque School students in understanding diversity, equity, inclusion, and social understanding by building bridges between middle and upper school students. Also, related outreach and community building with other Albuquerque-area high school students.

During Project SERVE, the WOKE service learning group focused on planning for this school year, establishing focal areas and priorities, developing cross-division bridge program. They also engaged in additional team-building activities and worked on program development.

“We will definitely take the things we have learned and use them to actively engage in our community.” Katia ‘22
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