One of our partner schools this year is Anna R. Langford Community Academy in Englewood. Their fourth graders participated our social studies unit, “Healthy Food for All!”, where they learned about the relationship between food and the civil rights movement. We delivered a series of lessons delivered over a two month period. In one particular activity, the students mapped out access to grocery stores, convenience stores, community gardens, and restaurants in their Englewood neighborhood. They discovered that Englewood is a “food desert”, which means that its residents have limited access to healthy and affordable food.
The students chose to do a final project where they wrote formal letters to leaders in the food movement, such as Sam Kass and Michelle Obama. The students applied the persuasive writing skills they learned in English to advocate for better food access within their own community.
Over the coming weeks, we will release the letters and videos of the students reading them. The students poured hours of time into this project, wrote draft after draft, and took turns on the classroom computers typing them up. Then each student read his/her letter aloud, in front of a camera and the rest of the class. This was a big step and it took a lot of confidence.
Ms. Ige, their wonderful teacher, displayed the letters in the school hallways. She also encouraged us at Pilot Light to get the word out about the project, so that we can reach a broader audience with the students’ message. You can see how thoughtful the students were about the barriers to food access in their community. They reveal nuances from a child’s perspective that will open your eyes. These fourth graders are changemakers and their words will make a difference.
The first video and letter we are releasing are from fourth grader Iania Beemon, who wrote to Michelle Obama.
Special thanks to Paul Chen from Whimsy City Productions!