One of the more evident reasons why UWYV works within North Middlesex Regional High School so well is their deeply-rooted service learning culture. Students who choose to get involved with UWYV typically already have a vast understanding of what it means to be an active member of society, specifically utilizing community projects as means of education. This existing pool of service learners has come in handy for numerous Venture Teams, as there is never a shortage of volunteers or an extra set of hands for a particular project. Teams at NMRHS this year focused on delving deeper into already-existing projects at their school, as well as embarking on new endeavors focused on service projects for all ages and feeding the homeless community in their area.
TEAMS LAUNCHED TO DATE:
2006 – 2007
Working together with the Life Skills program at the school, as well as the Best Buddies program, these students renovate and improve a courtyard for all to enjoy. They plant flowers, vegetables and herbs to sell in their Coffee Stop restaurant, and to help fund future renovations.
2007 – 2008
This group of high school students helps raise awareness of teen dating violence through art displays. They create and paint large, mobile murals for display to help educate local youth on dating violence prevention.
2011 – 2012
Members of this Venture plan to create a literary journal that will include pieces of writing from a variety of genres to showcase creativity, talent, and potential from NM students.
The Outdoor Classroom
After traveling on a service trip to New Orleans, North Middlesex Regional High School junior Elisabeth was inspired by the Aquaponics program at Blair Grocery. As part of the program, students learned 80% of their Advanced Placement Biology coursework without opening a textbook! Elisabeth and her fellow Venturers, Therese, Sam, Casey, and Marissa, started The Outdoor Classroom Venture Team. The Team hopes to help their communities and bring an experiential learning opportunity to their school’s community garden, by combining Aquaponics and Vermicompost methods. Through further grant applications, fundraisers like “Taste the Rainbow” where participants receive a fruit or vegetable of every color, and donating produce to the Pepperell Aid Community Home, these Venturers have set a goal to donate a ton – literally 2,000 pounds- of produce over the next ten years.
2012 – 2013
MLK Day of Service
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” Each year, Americans across the country answer that question by coming together on the MLK holiday to serve their neighbors and communities. Young people at North Middlesex Regional High School decided to answer this call to action by hosting the first MLK Day of Service in their district. Venture members recruited over 120 volunteers to help with services ranging from making soap to writing letters to those serving in Afghanistan. Because its first year was so successful, the MLK Day of Service Venture plans to continue hosting a series of volunteer opportunities during each forthcoming Martin Luther King holiday.
On a trip to New Orleans, members of Satellite Garden witnessed a local community’s effective and cost-efficient composting system and decided to create one of their own for the their school’s already-existing community garden. In addition to the food available through the Community Garden, the Satellite Garden Team plans to grow organic flowers and micro greens to sell at local farmer’s markets as means to sustain their project.
Students at North Middlesex Regional High School noticed that one of the most under- utilized facilities in most communities is the school kitchen and cafeteria. With this in mind, they decided to start Second Helpings, a soup kitchen available to any community member in need of a hot meal. Once a month, the team plans to host a soup kitchen with food gathered from their schools community garden and plan to partner with local businesses in the future.
2012 – 2013
The Bright Lights Project
Following a service trip down to New Orleans, the students of the Bright Lights Project were inspired by Green Lights New Orleans, a group that puts energy-efficient light bulbs into homes in need. These Venturers decided to enact a similar program right here in North Central Massachusetts, teaming up with Unitil and MassSaves with the goal of raising awareness and increasing the number of homes with energy-efficient lights.