State of Education: Civic Engagement Camp
Students were able to get a close up experience in community involvement through the Civic Engagement Camp. Vince Gallagher has the details of the program, put on by Siena College.
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Students were able to visit the office of Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings, which was just a small part of the Civic Engagement Camp.
"We give them training and diversity and power in communications, training them in terms of how the government for-profits and non-for profits can work together," said Jamie Stacey, Senior Counselor.
Put on by Siena College, the program allows students to learn from the public, face to face.
"Because with the young people, their eyes open up and they see some things from a different perspective, they also know they can be very beneficial to the communities and volunteering so it's a great program," said Albany Mayor, Gerry Jennings.
This certain summer school, if you will, is a little bit different than just straight ahead curriculum. In fact, it engages students in what educators feel is nearly as important as your typical reading, writing, and arithmetic: Community involvement, or knowing what's happening in your own backyard.
“We're working with kids that don't necessarily have a place to go because it's summer, so maybe they wouldn't get a lunch, and we're just playing with them and being role models and setting more structure for the program,” said Kate Van Patten, a student.
There's one example, for another, a non-profit group called RISE.
“Which stands for Refugees and Immigrants Support Services of Eumaeus, and we worked with the refugees and helped them speak English, because they don't really understand," said Cofunfi Akinwaoe, a student.
And also, an urban sustainability group. All examples of when students become volunteers, a learning experience outside the classroom
"Especially for teenagers, I think volunteering is a big deal, you definitely should do it, staying active in the summertime, staying out of trouble...it's hard to stay out of trouble, but once you have something to do, then just go for it,” said Aaron Cassidy, a student.
But with the current state of education, where do we stand right now? Graduation rates are still below what many educators feel is acceptable, which in turn affects students’ future in the job market.
"We want to create jobs for you, we want you to stay, but we have to get our act together and help each other out, and that's what this is all about, trying to get people to work with each other, stop a lot of the nonsense that's going on and really get kids focused so they are ready for the jobs of the future,” said Mayor Jennings.
On the job training for a career.