WALKSacramento hosted a civic engagement workshop in July with students participating in The Summer of Service program at Hiram Johnson High School.
Summer of Service is 6-week program that gives incoming and current high school students the opportunity to become agents of change in their schools by completing student-led service learning projects ranging from suicide prevention outreach and event planning to establishing a school recycling program.
The civic engagement workshop tapped the human-design focus of the program curriculum, teaching students about the important role that community design plays in supporting health and quality of life in neighborhoods. It also challenged students to expand their civic thinking beyond the walls of their school into their communities.
Students began by defining the various factors within the built environment, particularly related to their own communities. They discussed how things like their school, bus stops, roads, and parks can positively or negatively affect a community.
After the walk audit we challenged the group to come up with a process for implementing new projects to enhance safety and mobility for their fellow students based on what they saw during the walk audit:
Starting the day with very little understanding of how communities are designed or the important role that youth play as community advocates, the students left the feeling empowered to make their communities healthier.
This project is yet another way that WALKSacramento is tailoring Safe Routes to School work to high school aged audiences and cultivating a culture of youth advocacy.