Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Casady MLK Day 2016 in Review

MLK Day, Monday February 18, 2016


Where? Direct Service/Advocacy Rebuilding Together Mission:"Rebuilding lives and neighborhoods. Making homes safe warm and dry. Bringing volunteers and communities together to improve the homes and lives of low-income elderly homeowners in the Oklahoma City and metro area."
8:30-4:00 From the home of Mr. Ronald DeWitt-Clark: Coach B., Coach T., Isaiah L.'17, Dylan D.'16 (Photographer) reporting  20 UD volunteers refurbished the exterior of Mr. Ronald Dewitt-Clark. Cyclones scrapped the exterior and painted the whole house in a very cold MLK Day 2016. The project was coordinated by Mr. Brett Crecelius, Rebuilding Together, Project Manager.

Preliminary comments were:
"It was so much fun!  Love to accomplish so much in such little time."
"It was so cold! I had several layers of clothing so I could take it, but on the ladder my toes were freezing.  It was fun."
"The bus left and we did not want to bother Mr. Dewitt-Clark.  We went in the house only to use the facilities when needed. We went to Coach B. and Coach T.'s vehicles for some warmth."  "It was nice to have lunch at a warm pizza restaurant. Thank you Coach T. and Coach B. for carpooling us.  It would have been painfully cold to eat lunch outside!"

Reflective thoughts:

"Despite the cold, I enjoyed this amazing project because it was fun as well as great way to help the community. It was great seeing how much people can do, working as a team. I am glad that I spent my MLK day doing something positive!"N.J.

"Regardless of the cold, We all worked together and got closer while working. I made friends with people I had never really talked to before. I felt like I had really helped someone.  It truly was a great experience and a great way to spend MLK day." N.J.

Cost of the Project: Transportation, lunch, snacks, drinks, supplies (donated by Rebuilding Together), time https://www.independentsector.org/volunteer_time

Where? Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma Volunteer Center  Indirect Service/Advocacy. "The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma distributes food and other products through a network of more than 1,250 charitable feeding programs, including food pantries, homeless shelters, church pantries, soup kitchens, food resource centers and schools." 
9:30 -12:00 Packing Food  Morning Shift:  Reported by volunteers.  "We served during the morning shift packing frozen vegetables for hungry Oklahomans!"

Afternoon Shift: 1:30-4:00  Packed food for the Food for Kids backpack program and had a food insecurity simulation at the end of the shift.  
Mrs. Cherylynn O'Melia reporting.  Mrs. Briana Titus, photographer
The Regional Food Bank's Food or Kids program started as a pilot program in 2003 after hearing a firsthand account of an Oklahoma City elementary student who fainted on a Monday morning while waiting in the school lunch line, due to lack of food over the weekend. The program provides chronically hungry children with backpacks filled with non-perishable, nutritious, kid-friendly, shelf-stable food to sustain them over weekends and school holidays.
During the 2014-2015 school year, the Backpack Program served nearly 18,500 elementary school students attending 514 schools across 53 central and western Oklahoma counties, providing more than 2 million meals for chronically hungry children..

Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma Totals
75 total people volunteered/represented Casady. 9,630 meals packed. 3,852 backpacks!

Food sorting and packing:
"This is really fun."
"This is the best!"
"Look how much food we packed."
Hunger Simulation:
"We beat you."
"I don't have enough money to buy my food."
"If we wait for the pantry to open, we will not get to buy groceries!"
"SNAP didn't give me anything!"
Ms. O.:
"Working at the Food Bank empowers students to realize they can make a difference in their community."

Fifth grade had the most volunteers with a total of 22. They were followed by 18 in 8th, and a total of 10 in 7th.  10 Casady Lower Division students, 6 Casady Upper Division teens and 10 OU students were also part of the Casady volunteer team in the afternoon shift.

Pictures of MLK Day 2016 by Mrs. Briana Titus at the Food Bank here 

Cost of the project:
Self-transportation, snacks and drinks (provided by Food Bank), Time https://www.independentsector.org/volunteer_time

Where? OKC National Memorial and Museum
Advocacy/Research Service 9:45-4:00 pm "At the core of the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum’s mission are efforts to educate about the impact of violence, as well as advocate for violence prevention. Our legislature was integral in passing progressive legislation to ensure the Oklahoma City bombing is taught in all U.S. and Oklahoma history classes in the state."
Mrs. Carmen Clay, Daniela Rodriguez-Chavez'19 -reporting Anna Buckley, Timothy Bryer-Ash, and Mrs. Shannon Presti -photographers

Interactive learning experience facilitated by Youth LEAD OKCasady, Daniela R-C'19 who created the advocacy to reconnect to the Oklahoma Standard project after an investigation visit to the museum the Sunday before MLK Day 2016 with her cultural competency, diversity/identity education, and leadership through service youth board, Youth LEAD OKC.  http://youthleadokc.blogspot.com/

This project brought together teens from Casady, Heritage Hall, Putnam City West, and Capitol Hill High Schools. 20 teens and 3 adults received free admission to the museum courtesy of the museum and lunch and snacks courtesy of Casady School Upper Division Principal, Dr. Jon Powell  

To begin the day, after waiting a few minutes for people to arrive, Daniela ushered participants to the museum's classroom and facilitated a welcome, "share your expectations" on post it notes while enjoying a cereal bar.  

" I think this museum will probably make me feel really sad because the OKC bombing caused a lot of casualties.  But the more important thing is not the sadness.  The more important thing is what this tragedy teaches us." z.c.

"I think I will learn more information on the Oklahoma City bombing in the sense of how it happened, the people it affected, and the consequences enforced. At the end of this experience, I hope to develop a better understanding and compassion for our community." i.o.
Then, Daniela took participants to the Museum, an experience "through a chronological self-guided tour of the story of April 19, 1995, and the days, weeks and years that followed the bombing of Oklahoma City's Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.  The story tracks the remarkable journey of loss, resilience, justice, and hope."

At the end of the tour, back at the Museum's classroom, during a Cheezets and hydrating water break, Mrs. Beverly Kirk, a guest from Diversi-Tea and quilter, put the museum in "real time" perspective because of her personal experiences with victims and survivors of the bombing.  Mrs. Kirk also connected the museum's visit to Dr. King's vision of peace, understanding, teamwork, collaboration, and going beyond co-existence interactivity.

The morning continued with a lesson at the museum Uncover-Discover STEM forensics lab. The lab "creates a multimedia experience that aims to excite and encourage students to pursue STEM careers. 

The Uncover-Discover Lab integrates STEM concepts with history in a highly interactive environment that stimulates learning and connects the past with the future. 

TheUncover-Discover Lab is an academically oriented experience that is geared toward middle and high school students."

Mrs. Shannon Presti, Youth LEAD OKC CEO suggested to work in groups by birthday months to connect teens from different schools. Mrs. Lynn Porter facilitated the session.  Special thanks to Mrs. Porter for helping Daniela create this advocacy for hope, kindness, service, and honor opportunity for Cyclones and Oklahoma City teens on her day off from work.


During pizza and salad lunch time, a quick survey by Mrs. Clay and Mrs. Kirk showed that most teens had taken tours with their schools of the memorial, but only a couple had visited our state of the art memorial museum.  The lab was a second experience to a hand full of participants.  
Most teens were born by 9/11. The bombing is something they read about in books, see online remembrances off or have indirect connections with, as when some of the members of the Class of 2019 explored the Museum's Hope Trunk and planted a survival tree seedling at the Casady campus during Peace Week when they were in the 5th grade.

Survival Tree Seedling Planting in honor of September 21, 2011 -  International Day of Peace, Class of 2019

In the afternoon Daniela ushered the group to a quick outside tour of the Memorial guided by a Park Ranger in a very cold winter MLK Day.  

As the freezing temperatures shorten the experience, the group had an opportunity to visit the museum's store before starting a tour of the Museum's archives facilitated by Mrs. Porter.  "The Memorial Archives has assisted researchers from all over the country and the world. Resources from the Memorial Archives have been utilized for projects ranging from middle school research papers to doctoral dissertations to video documentaries, even to assisting novelists."

At the archives, Mrs. Clay showed a collage of 1,000 service pics from 2000-2005 that created a picture of the memorial walls and reflecting pool made by Cyclone Bandon Spivey'05.  Brandon named his collage, "Reflecting Resilience."  At the archives, the group discovered many historical facts and stories of how violence and death turned into hope and serenity by the Oklahoma Standard displayed after the bombing.
"April 19, 1995, altered the face of Oklahoma – and the nation – forever.  But rather than bow to fear as the attackers intended, the community banded together. Cars became ambulances. Strangers became neighbors. People literally donated the shoes off their feet. Visiting rescue workers and journalists called this spirit of generosity the “Oklahoma Standard.”

When Mrs. Porter was asked about the relationship between the 9/11 museum and the OKC museum, she mentioned that the NYC organizers had consulted with our museum before building the NYC Memorial and Museum. Sadly, some of the rescue workers who helped in the OKC bombing, perished while helping during 9/11. Another difference pinpointed was that it only took a few years to build our memorial.  It took a decade to build the 9/11 Memorial.

Mrs. Clay co-related the Museum archives and its value of preserving history to the Casady archives, where the history of Casady is preserved from its inception in 1947 until the present.  An example, a picture of Mrs. Clay as an exchange student from Peru in the school year of 1973-74 can be found there. The Casady archives location is at the Casady Crabtree Library.

After the archives visit, Daniela ushered the group to a First Person presentation.  Due to the MLK Day Parade, our speaker was a few minutes late.  This gave Mrs. Porter the opportunity to do a quick survey of the audience about the Oklahoma Standard. Some adults were aware of the meaning and shared what they did during the month of April 2015 in honor of the 20th anniversary of remembrance.

Mrs. Clay reminded some students of Mrs. Crossno explanation of the Oklahoma standard: "A rescue NYC firefighter came with only $20 in his pocket.  At the end of his stay in Oklahoma City, the generosity of Oklahomans thankful for the work he was doing, the firefighter left with the same $20 in his pocket. "

Mrs. Porter introduced our first person speaker as the story of a survivor, geologist, Mr. Ed Eckenstein.  We will never forget his analogy of rocks and backpacks!

McVeigh had to have been carefully taught to hate the government.  Negative indoctrination finds fertile ground on trouble souls.  The company he kept and the actions he endured created what he became, he had heavy rocks in his backpack of life.  We need to take those rocks away with acts of kindness, service, compassion, and honor...The Oklahoma Standard! C.C.

To end the day, turning STEM into STEAMS2 (adding the arts, service and spirituality to our day), Daniela, helped by Mrs. Kirk(Quilter) and Mrs. Clay (Zen Music), asked participants to create a quilt patch relating their personal roots and fruits of service, their experience at the museum and the survivor tree.  Participants viewed a quilt that began at MLK Day 2005 and ended in 2010 as an example, but not necessary a model.  The sample quilt resides at the Casady archives.  Mrs. Kirk motivated participants to use their personal creativity since Daniela stated that a tree was something Casady freshmen had just done as an English class reflective piece.  

"I learned about how the people of Oklahoma reacted and rebounded from the bombing.  Through their compassion and empathy the Oklahoma Standard was born.  I hope to help our generation succeed and help maintain the standards and values we have died to represent.  By learning about the memorial, I have gained a better understanding of our city and what we stand for.  I hope to translate these values to the people around me and in generations to come" J.A.

"I think teenagers volunteering at memorial on a free day really shows the community how we care and cherish every moment we have." Q.B.

"This service learning impacted me because it taught me more of the tragedies of the OKC bombing and how even something bad can bring a community together.  I feel I impacted the community today by providing and creating a quilt for those in need and learning of sad historical events that should never be repeated." T.B.

"Today showed me the power of being compassionate, and how a small thing can have a big impact" P.Q.
"This project has shown me so much that I did not know.  We learn only briefly what happened on April 19, 1995 in school.  Coming to this museum shows us the process of accepting achieving justice, and healing together.  We forget sometimes how we come to be, who we are, and the bombing is a huge part of Oklahoma's character" B. H.

" I am so glad I came to his museum.  Through the tour today, I learnt that if everyone can make some small action, all of them put together will make a huge difference.  We also need to learn from this bombing, "don't let tragedy just be a tragedy."Z.C.

"I realized how hard it must have been for everyone and how long it took to heal.  It made me want to help more" H.H.
"First time the Oklahoma Standard was both explained and shown, with all of the support given by Oklahomans and the amazing memorial built to honor those killed." J.L. 

Daniela stated that the finished quilt will have a home at a children place where it can inspire to recommit to the Oklahoma standard, kindness, compassion and service.  Mrs. Kirk will be our quilt making facilitator.  She will come to Casady YAC and Youth LEAD OKC meetings for that purpose.

To end the day, Mrs. Clay asked participants to leave on a post-it note what the impact of the day at the museum had been on them and the community served?  What did they learned?/ How were they changed by this experience?/ How this time at the museum could help them to make a difference in the community?

"Today, I realized the impact of negativity and hate on the world and people in it.  But, I also realized the impact of love and community, and how inspiring it can be.  I've been inspired to spread more love and kindness around our community." c.c.

Cost of the project:
Lunch, snacks, quilt supplies, museum tickets ($12 per person), transportation, time https://www.independentsector.org/volunteer_time