JET alum Natasha Huggins is raising financial aid for New Mission High Sschool students in Hyde Park, MA to travel to Japan. Please consider donating to her cause. More information can be found on her Go Fund Me page below.
I am fundraising to take a group of 9 committed urban students to Japan to volunteer, visit Temple University Japan and meet with their new friends at Nagano Nishi HS. We have met our 50% goal. We still you your help. You can support urban education, youth empowerment and global leadership. Our travel dates are October 14 – October 21, 2013.
What is the purpose of the trip?
As an educator we inspire our students to be curious about the world through our content and ourselves. I had the unique opportunity to teach English as a Second Language in Japan from 2001-2004. I lived in a small rural town in Nagano Prefecture with a population of 10,000 people. In that time period, I learned about Japanese culture and history, US/Japan relations and what it means to be an American in our global community. My various adventures in Japan like eating raw horse meat and climbing Mt. Fuji became the tales I shared to pique my students’ interest in other cultures around the globe.
When I joined the Boston Public School community in 2007, I was very aware of the global perspective I brought to the classroom. I was an African American woman who was raised by a Caribbean parent, lived in Japan, spoke Japanese and had a knowledge of Asian culture. I felt I embodied globalization.Through my self perception, I taught my students. If I can own all these identities and perspective, surely, my students could develop a global perspectives and become leaders in the world. My role as an educator is the way I influence the world, perhaps, through traveling to Japan, my student will discover how they can change the world.
The purpose of this trip is to offer students who are under-represented in global education travel an opportunity to experience a new country, culture and language. When I lived in Japan, I was the first African American person many people in my community ever met. I know the importance of sharing African American cultural around the world, especially in the Age of Obama. Other nations are curious about America’s diversity especially as it pertains to African American culture. My students are representing the changing influence in America and growing importance of people of color in politics, education and business. In the end, their role in this cultural exchange and service learning can act as a means of bringing urban youth front and center as active participants on the global stage.
The overall result of the trip is to create a paradigm shift in urban youth towards empowerment, leadership and an awareness of the role they play in the global community.
What are the educational goals of your program?
The educational goals of this trip are teamwork through Service learning, leadership through fundraising, self-advocacy and college & career readiness.
The students will collaborate on a service learning project around hunger and disaster relief. The students are learning about hunger in Boston through their work with the Greater Boston Food Bank. They are learning that they can become engaged in their community and work as a team to end hunger. The students on the trip will take what they learned at the Greater Boston Food Bank and apply it to the volunteer project at Second Harvest in Tokyo. The students will volunteer for two mornings on October 18th and 19th to prepare for a soup kitchen. The Second Harvest is one of the first food banks in Japan. Their efforts have helped to feed people who suffered during the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Fukushima.
The students are developing their leadership skills through fundraising. The students have developed fundraising activities, prepared and participated in various sales and events to support the trip. In addition, the student have fundraised individually by reaching out to their extended families, churches and community. The students are developing their public speaking and writing skills through their efforts to persuade potential supporters to fund their educational trip to Japan. Many of the students have had tremendous success through their efforts to galvanize their parents to fundraise on their behalf.
The students are able to self-advocate by identifying their needs and finding the appropriate channels to get what they need. The students who need significant financial assistance were able to discuss with me an action plan to get the support they necessary from their families and community. The students are able to clearly explain to their families what they need for the trip with my support, to receive rides to fundraising events, secure passports, deposits and payments. The students are learning to be responsible and take care of business in order to secure the opportunities of which they wish to take advantage.
The final educational goal of the trip is college and career readiness. The emerging leadership, collaborative and self-advocacy skills are important as students decide what colleges to attend and careers to pursue. As part of our trip, we will visit the campus of Temple University Japan and sit in on an Asian Studies lecture. Students may decide through this trip that they want to study abroad, attend a college that offers international relations, Japanese or Asian studies. Another option, the students may want to work for a non governmental organization (NGO) that works to support hunger or disaster relief around the world. I hope through this experience, students will see themselves as developing global leaders and want to improve American relations around the world through volunteering, education, or business.
How does this program connect to your class’s or school’s curriculum or mission?
This program connects to the schools mission, because New Mission High School is a college preparatory school whose mission is to develop lifelong learners who will do well for and in the world. Our school has an excellent academic standing in the district and now it is time for our students to experience and see the world. This inaugural trip will be the actualization of our school’s mission. The international travel will enhance the background knowledge students bring to their classroom studies and lives. This will be an enriching experience that supports the academic rigor at New Mission High School. The hope, is that this program or similar global educational programs will become a part of the school’s opportunities for more students.
What is the student selection process?
There were two information sessions after school. Students were given an application that asked the following questions: Why do you want to go to Japan? What do you hope to learn? How will you share your experience with your community once you return? After we received the application, the headmaster approved each student based on their academic record, attendance and discipline record.
Thank you in advance for your support