Elementary school students will pick strawberries for a day; high school students will spruce up a spring; and other children will help clean the Los Angeles River. Students from seven Los Angeles-area schools will perform these projects as part of the Cesar Chavez Day of Service and Learning grant received by UCLAâ€™s Center for Experiential Education and Service Learning.
The UCLA center is working with teachers at seven schools to educate students about Chavez, the prolific farm labor leader, and inform them about the values he put into action on a daily basis. The students then will engage in community-based service-learning projects that embody Chavezâ€™s values, which include service to others and helping the most needy. The students will also organize a performance at their school or in the community to inform others about Chavez. About 600 students are participating in the project.
â€śWhat is so unique about this project is that students are not only learning about Chavezâ€™s life and his values, they are also learning how to put those values into practice and improve their own communities,â€? said Kathy Oâ€™Byrne, executive director of the UCLA Center for Experiential Education and Service Learning.
The participating schools are: Strathern Street Elementary School, Parkman Middle School, Taft High School and Francis Polytechnic High School, all in the San Fernando Valley, and Brockton and Wonderland Elementary Schools and University High School in Los Angeles.
Students will take part in various community service-learning projects. At University High School, students will clear brush and plant native grasses at Sacred Springs, which is located on their campus. Other students will clean the Los Angeles River on April 20 as part of Earth Day activities.
Wonderland Elementary School students will pick strawberries at Tierra Rejada Ranch in Moorpark on Wednesday, April 17.
The UCLA center connects faculty and students with K-12 schools, nonprofit agencies and businesses for service-learning courses, internships and the AmeriCorps community service program.
The GO SERV/UCLA project was made possible through funding from the Governorâ€™s Office on Service and Volunteerism (GO SERV). In 2000 Gov. Gray Davis signed legislation to create the Cesar Chavez Day of Service and Learning. On April 1, 2002, individuals, business and community leaders, teachers, and school children united in meaningful service projects that commemorate the legacy of Cesar Chavez and the principles he embodied. Other projects are also taking place throughout April.
GO SERV funded 64 Cesar Chavez Day projects throughout the state.