For the past few years, students at Greenberg Elementary School in the Young Heroes Outreach Program have put together presentations on social issues important to them. This year, more than 20 students created a presentation on child abuse and presented it to the school May 7.
The presentation covered topics such as identifying signs that they were abused, statistics on child abuse in America and what to do when you see signs of child abuse. Their goal was not only to educate their fellow students, but to spread the word even further to parents of students, elected officials and the public.
The state Department of Human Services reports that nine out of every 1,000 kids report being abused, but most children don’t report any abuse out of fear. Teachers, police officers and others are required to report child abuse if they notice anything.
Some signs that a child might be abused are bruises or scars where they normally would not be, such as the back or the top of their hands. Children who avoid people and are quiet may also be demonstrating signs of abuse.
Katherine Volin is a seventh-grade teacher for the school and adviser for the club. The students themselves were responsible for brainstorming possible presentation topics and then voting on which ones mattered to them. Volin said that every student responded that they were at least somewhat interested in shedding light on child abuse.
“As an educator, it’s hard to step back and let the kids take control, but they were eager to step up,” said Jesse Parker, a special education teacher who is also an adviser for the club.
After deciding the topic, the seventh- and eighth-grade students prepared the presentation over the course of 10 lessons. They learned and utilized skills such as graphic design, research, public speaking and social media.
YHOP is run by the National Liberty Museum with the goal of empowering students in areas like leadership and civic engagement. At the start of the year, students took a trip to the museum to learn about the Constitution and other rights, aligning with the social studies and English curriculum at the school.
“They learn about the five freedoms of the First Amendment, and how they can use those to make sure everyone in the world has liberty,” Volin said. The curriculum also focuses on how young people used their rights to bring liberty to other people.
The club is run by Volin, Parker and Rosaleigh Blackmer, an outreach educator for the National Liberty Museum. To help spread the word about the presentation, the YHOP students created fliers for their classmates to take home and share with their parents. They had also set up a table at this year’s Mayfair Spring Arts Festival.
The presentation concluded with a quiz section where students who answered questions correctly were awarded with candy. Every student who answered got the questions correct.
In the past, students in the Greenberg YHOP club did presentations on subjects like net neutrality and school funding.
Follow Greenberg YHOP on Twitter at @GreenbergHeroes.