Learn all about how the food drive started and what grade collected the most cans of food!
All about Tyler Powles @Caliber: Beta Academy:
For the past two years I have mentored groups of students who received a $500 grant to do a service project, which was showcased each year at a Richmond wide event. This year, that grant has shut down and I am fronting the money to allow students to continue their efforts. This year’s group is comprised of one third grader (1st year in group), two fourth graders (1st year in group), two fifth graders (2nd year in group), and one sixth grader (3rd year in group).
Students meet before school once a week to plan their ideas. So far, students have planned the food drive, posted fliers around school, handed fliers out to cars at dismissal, spoken at assemblies, collected and sorted all of the donated food. Students took the 2,138 food items to the Bay Area Rescue Mission to be donated, then toured the classroom, kitchen, and shelter there. Students planned and prepared fresh, healthy lunches for the entire 6th grade as part of hosting a picnic to celebrate 6th grade having donated the most to the food drive. Next, students are planning to operate a healthy breakfast stand for the weeks of SBAC to provide a healthier food option on campus. The goal is for this to be well received and financially self-sustaining once started. They are planning to hold a school wide art contest to help create a poster and/or logo for the food stand.
A recent interview with the group of students who ran the food drive:
Tell me more about the food drive?
“Each grade level collected cans of food and to collect a lot, we turned this into a competition. Whomever collected the most would get a picnic party. This year we collected 2,138 cans of food that we were able to donate!”
Why did you decide to start a food drive?
“It was important to start this because we get to help people. We could do this everyday because there are always people that need help NOW! The first year we started the project, we had a lot of donations and it became a tradition. It takes lots of courage from us to tell the teachers to push students to donate- we made flyers, reached out to parents and encouraged our teachers to promote this in their classrooms. Mr. Powles helped us a lot since we started this project. This year was the first year that the upper school participated as a whole and got the 6th graders to donate 525 cans as a whole!”
Why is it important for students to participate in the food drive?
“It's important to develop our leadership skills all while we help people who are in need. By doing this, we are able to be role models to other kids. There are a lot of homeless people in the community and they don’t have healthy food options that they can afford. When we donate healthy foods, it’s very helpful to them.”
What were some difficulties you encountered while carrying out the project?
“Spreading the word! Encouraging the parents to tell their kids- there was a flyer and we saw these flyers on the floor sometimes. We talked to the teachers individually and really had to take action in every way we could. We even talked to a few parents after school and explained to them why the food drive was important. Another way we promoted the drive was by making a video. We came up with a skit with the help of Mr. Powles and we showed it during our school assembly to make sure everyone participated in the drive!
What is another project you want to run that engages the Caliber community?
"During SBAC testing, we are doing a healthy breakfast stand. Last year we made parfaits, cereal bowls, fruits and other healthy breakfast options. When we gave these out in the morning, we attached fun facts about nutrition that promoted the importance of having a healthy foods. We start testing in two weeks, so we need to come up with a name for the breakfast stand and a menu!"
If you could relate this project to one of our pillars, which would it be?
Lucy: "I think it’s ACT because we are taking action to provide canned foods to people in need.”
Belen: "It was Heart and ACT because it takes heart to help others and if we want to help others, we need to take ACTion.”
Carmen:"ACT because before I joined the group, I didn't know a lot about homelessness in Richmond and now we all get to do service projects that help those in need.”
Harbandna: “I think it's' ACT because we are giving food to people who are in need and who haven't had food for a long time. It's also HEART because we are doing something that helps the community in a meaningful way.”
Gaby: “I think it's HEART and ACT because for me heart means we care and also act because we did a lot for this food drive.”
Jazmin: "For me it’s HEART, THINK and ACT. Before this group started some students thought about the need of people, so we reached out to Mr. Powles to help us start something that could help our community. We acted on this by raising food for something that meant a lot for our community- this all encompasses HEART."
All about Brittany Baker @ Caliber: ChangeMakers Academy:
I am CMA's Middle School Integrated Science Teacher. I was fortunate enough to be a founding member of the CMA team and have gotten to see our beautiful school grow and develop over the past 3 years. I am passionate about using my classroom as a lever for justice, as well as making kids fall in love with science. Middle Schoolers are my favorite people, they are at the perfect intersection of curiosity, creativity, and hilarity. In my science class, we spend our time exploring phenomenons of the natural world and making sense of how they work.
A recent interview with Brittany:
What is your favorite thing about Caliber: ChangeMakers Academy?
"My favorite thing about Caliber: ChangeMakers Academy is the people, staff, students, and our families! They all bring so much joy to my heart. I feel that we are a true community, invested in the success and happiness of one another. I see evidence of this at CMA every day, families who are so gracious and connected to teachers, students who go out of their way to pop in and visit adults they care about, and colleagues who go out of their way to help. It feels like we are all truly pulling in the same direction for the good of our community, and I've never experienced that anywhere else before.”
Tell me more about the exploration unit your students are working on in science class?
“In my class we are pursuing a variety of explorations. I teach 6th, 7th, and 8th so I teach each grade something different every day. In 6th grade, we are exploring how the ocean, atmosphere, and climate interact. In our last lab, we modeled ocean currents using a chemical reaction between milk and dish soap and we also built a model of the layers of the atmosphere using liquids with different densities. In 7th grade, we are in a very exciting chemical reactions unit, so we've been making all kinds of substances that bubble, boil, or blow up! Finally in 8th grade we're exploring light waves and how they interact with different materials- we built laser obstacle courses to show how concentrated light can be manipulated. It's all a lot of fun.”
What has been your favorite lesson or memory with your students?
“There are so many it's really hard to choose, but I would have to say one of the Egg Drop Projects I did with my current eighth grade class back when they were 6th graders (I've gotten to teach them every year for middle school science- dream come true!) It was one of our first big engineering projects we tackled and they had such a blast planning, designing, and building their prototypes. I even talked our Director of Operations into letting me climb up on top of the 3-story gym room at our old campus to drop them, it was pretty epic! I was super impressed at how many eggs survived such a big fall; they're amazing engineers. It's really great to be in a place where so many people are committed to giving our students educational experiences that they will remember fondly forever.”
If you can relate the work you do to one of our pillars, which would it be?
“I would hope that my work most reflects our ACT pillar. My work as a teacher is my activism, it is my opportunity to build up a new generation of young people who will fight for what is good and what is equitable. The ability to shape young minds, build them to be strong, to question, to stand up for what they believe in- it's truly an honor to be able to occupy this space in the lives of young people, and one that I am so grateful to have.”
What is one fun fact that most people don't know about you?
“I am REALLLLLLLLY GOOD at soccer! Just kidding, I'm kind of terrible, but I play every Friday here in Vallejo at the Mare Island Sports Complex. I love running into my students who are there playing basketball, volleyball, and soccer. I never took advantage of the opportunity to play on a team when I was in school, so I love getting to live out my dreams of athletic adequacy now that I am an adult, haha!”