Breakthrough Magnet School and the Middle Grades Academy at West Middle School Hold Community Days Focusing on Philanthropic Giving and Teaching

Breakthrough Magnet School and the Middle Grades Academy at West Middle School Students Use their Time, Treasure, and Talent to Build a Strong Community and Help Those in Need Around Them

Breakthough students present a check to The Village for Families and Children. 
The Success Leadership program is a collaborative effort of the Hulbert Outdoor Center and InspiringKids. This program helps students learn key principals to inspire and empower them to assume leadership roles at their school and in their lives and to practice these roles by helping others in their communities.
In February, 18 students and 2 teachers from Breakthrough Magnet School and 19 students and 3 teachers from West Middle School attended the Success Leadership Conference at the Hulbert Outdoor Center in Vermont to kick off the 2014 Success Leadership Program.  During the three day conference participants engaged in teambuilding exercises and leadership workshops led by Hulbert Outdoor Center and Aloha Foundation staff, as well as InspiringKids lessons to help students learn about their local community and how they can lead their schools in projects that help their community. Students also enjoyed skating under floodlights, walking across the frozen lake, sledding, and hiking to the legendary Hookman’s cabin. Staff provided games and entertainment to finish out their long days of hard work.
On Community Day, Breakthrough upperclassmen worked with younger students to create projects that will benefit people in the Hartford community.
Each of the elements of the conference was designed to help students learn our leadership philosophy and to provide opportunities to apply this knowledge. Teambuilding activities helped students to appreciate the strengths they bring to the group and to recognize the strengths of others on their team. Students discussed the many roles that a leader may take on as well as different leadership styles.
Leadership workshops were based on the Aloha Foundation’s Success Counseling model which is used as the core training program for all staff at their three residential summer camps, summer day camp, family camp, and the Hulbert Outdoor Center. This model draws from William Glasser’s Choice Theory and challenges students to identify and utilize their own unique talents and those of their team members. In addition this model emphasizes the power of each student to choose to strive to be their best selves in each situation, to practice effective communication and motivation techniques and to bring their talents and knowledge to the service of their communities.
The InspiringKids program seeks to teach students how they can use their time, treasure, and talent to build a strong community and help those in need around them. This program is serving as the leadership project for these students at their schools.  At the Success Leadership Conference InspiringKids staff led students through a series of lessons to teach them about the elements that make up communities, the definition and importance of nonprofits, and nonprofits that serve their local community. Students researched some local nonprofits and through this research learned about the needs in their community and how they can be addressed. By the end of the conference students from each school had identified 3 nonprofits that they would like their school to consider supporting through the donation of money from their Community Fund set up by InspiringKids.
Throughout the month of March students at each school prepared and delivered a presentation to the rest of their school about what they have learned and the nonprofits they researched. They invited all students to vote for the nonprofit that they will like to receive their community fund money and to join in a Community Day where they engaged in activities that serve their community. Students in the leadership group took time following the Community Day to reflect on their experience and to consider how they can continue to be leaders and philanthropists in their community.
The leadership group at West Middle School presented to their school about Village for Families and Children, Knox Parks Foundation, and Boys and Girls Club of Hartford. They held their Community Day on April 10th. The leadership group at Breakthrough Magnet School presented to their school on Village for Families and Children, Charter Oak Health Center, and Compass Youth Collaborative. They held their Community Day on March 28th.
InspiringKids has pledged $250 to each school to establish their Community Fund. Day Pitney Law Firm of Hartford has generously pledged an additional $250 to each school to elevate their Community Funds to $500 each. The entire value of each of these funds will be donated to the nonprofit selected by the students at each school. A check presentation ceremony will be held at the conclusion of each school’s Community Day.
At West Middle School's Community Day Celebration students and teachers began the special activities with a welcoming ceremony and overview of the afternoon events.  Then the students in grades 5 & 6 went to homerooms to create helping hand art projects to be displayed in the school, while students in grades 7 & 8 went back to homerooms to create art gift bags for children who attend/visit The Village.  The fifth and sixth graders also planted seeds for Knox Parks.
At the ceremony, the students recognized the three community organizations they decided to recognize: The Knox Parks Foundation; The Village for Families and Children and the Boys and Girls Club of Hartford. Students and non-profit representatives remained in the auditorium for a concert by Nekita Waller (Soul, Pop, R&B)  To end the day, the 3 non-profits were presented with their gifts from the students.





InspiringKids is a nonprofit organization offering a youth leadership, community building, and philanthropy program. We work with educators at elementary and middle schools to help a group of students become student leaders by learning, understanding and teaching how everyone can use their time, treasure and talent to help others.

Hulbert Outdoor Center

Established in 1978, Hulbert Outdoor Center is a non-profit educational institution that serves 7,000 participants annually through programs designed to foster personal growth, self-reliance, confidence, cooperation, and a sense of community in people of all ages. HOC Director Jason Knowles currently oversees multiple outdoor adventures for adults, teens and children, including Hulbert's superb School Programs.


The Aloha Foundation

The Aloha Foundation is a Vermont-based nonprofit that provides summer camps, family camps and education programs emphasizing simplicity, the outdoors and living in community.  Their mission is to inspire people of all ages to learn, explore, grow and be their best selves.

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