The GYU team at Central High School found themselves impassioned by the disorganization in the Philadelphia School District. Uniting together various sectors, they organized a forum with members of the School Reform Commission, teachers, and members of the administration to discuss the state of education in Philadelphia.
franklin learning center
The students at Franklin Learning Center began their year with discussions around the Millenium Development Goals like all GYU teams. These issues affect humans at the international level and provide a jump start to discussing social issues at all levels. Working down from there, through national and state issues, they brought their opinions and emotions down to their own communities, and the issues which effect those they love in their very own neighborhoods.
What they discovered was poignant; many among them had lost a loved one to drug and alcohol abuse; especially as it pertains to drunk driving. Upon realizing they all shared a passion for education around the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse, they then asked what their city government and school district provided as existing program. To their dismay, their research took them to the answer: Nothing.
Working with their mentor (a University of Pennsylvania student who hailed from a California high school which addressed this same issue), they organized an all day presentation which would pique interest in their fellow students, and reveal the answer to a question at the end of the day. Throughout the day, various GYU students were called out of classes and returned minutes later “In Silence”- signs noting their inability to speak, faces grayed out with paint, their vows holding until the end of the school day. If prompted and questioned by fellow students, they were only allowed to share the information that an after-school assembly would answer the query.
At the assembly, the silenced GYU students assembled on stage to share the statistics regarding death amongst high schoolers due to drug and alcohol abuse/drunk driving. Each student stood to represent a percent of that statistic, and used their own character and body to symbolize the pain when drugs and alcohol needlessly claim the lives of fellow teenagers.
the parkway program
At the Parkway Program High School, GYU students debated the merits of choosing between a service project to aid homeless persons or involvement with the issues related to veterans. After several discussions, the opportunity to bridge the gap arose; and the students elected to work on behalf of homeless veterans. Connecting with their community, they sought out the Philadelphia Veteran’s Comfort House, which serves the homeless veteran population. After hosting the Executive Director of the PVCH for a Q&A session, the students devised volunteer commitments and schedules, managed a team of volunteers throughout the spring dedicated to improving the basement of the Comfort House, and brought six new beds to the Home, enabling six new veterans to come in off the street.
science leadership academy
Science Leadership Academy took a research tack with their project in 2012-2013, and set about to create a "research bank" on issues of Globalization, parting from the UN Millennium Development Goals.