101 Women of Hope Project Makes A Difference In D.C. Schools
Capitol volunteers step in the help America’s students
The crisis on education seems to be never-ending in America. Whether it’s the shortage of teachers in urban public schools, the recent news that student loans will be doubling for many (thanks to the U.S. Senate), or the lack of opportunities afforded some students, education has become - and continues to be - a huge issue in the United States.
Kevin Hallums, Middle School Dean of Students at Washington Latin Public Charter School, is hoping to make a change in the lives of young students in the District of Columbia with his program 101 Women of Hope.
More than 150 women and men will assemble at D.C.’s Ron Brown Middle School today, May 11, for the 101 Women of Hope community service initiative, a 1-day event created to promote mentorship, volunteerism and school rehabilitation. This year’s effort marks the third consecutive 101 Women of Hope event, and falls on the heels of the D.C. Public School’s 5-year plan for higher-achieving public schools and students. The 101 Women of Hope and 101 Men of Hope programs are part of the Hope 101 Project.
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“As an educator, I saw a need for my students to be introduced to a positive role model,” Hallums explained to Loop 21. “I also knew that many of my friends, young professionals, were looking for an outlet to give back to the community where they grew up.”
Out of the nearly 1 million students who drop out of high school every year, almost 1,200 of them are from the District of Columbia, according to a study done by the American Graduate series. Students across the country are dropping out at rapid rates due to their surroundings, lack of positive influences, or no motivation to stay in school.
“There’s many essential things that a public school system needs to better itself,” Darla Bunting, a D.C. third grade literacy teacher, told Loop 21. “Such as strong leadership, meaningful curriculum, tailored professional development, leadership development, character education, extracurricular activities, parental and community involvement just to name a few.”
Although there’s much to be done with America’s public education system, thankfully, organizations like The Hope 101 Project exist. The community-driven program allows volunteers to serve throughout the school system completing various tasks, including assisting teachers, reading books to students, assembling school furniture, performing custodial duties, planting flowers, cataloging library books and facilitating career development sessions.
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Our goal is to keep bringing the program to schools and communities that could use the extra hands and help,” Hallums stated to Loop 21. "We feel responsible for the growth of our youth; so we (and our volunteers) are determined to do all we can to give them what they need to be successful. My biggest fear is that the lives of today's youth will be limited due to lack of education and lack of exposure to things that are vital to personal and professional growth.”
Hallums isn’t the only one who shares that fear; teachers and school administrators around the country are determined to do whatever it takes to give their students more opportunity and exposure.
“We need to infuse elements of post secondary reality into the in-school experience,” educational consultant Tariq said to Loop 21. “Many students, even with proper parental guidance, tend to be short sighted. The more exposure they have to life beyond their current surroundings, particularly college visits and career possibilities, and the more inspired they will be to strive toward something.”
The 101 Hope Project doesn’t have plans of going national just yet, but they will continue to make a difference, one school at a time.
Go to www.101womenofhope.com for more information.