Sharefest Students Give Back for the Good of the Harbor
Founded as a community service organization, Sharefest believes strongly in giving back to our communities. Because of those roots, service learning has always been a central component of the Sharefest curriculum. The Harbor Community Benefit Foundation (HCBF) looks for opportunities to invest in port communities to improve the quality of life and the environment. HCBF provided Sharefest with a generous grant to fund service learning and empower youth to take action to improve their communities and environment.
For the Spring 2021 semester, the service learning course focused on the port. Each class was challenged to find ways to mitigate the impacts of Port of Los Angeles and Port-related activity on health and well-being. The course took students through a process of internal and external exploration. Students performed research and uncovered ways to effect community change. Each school planned service projects to benefit and engage their community. As part of the process students were also challenged to engaged community leaders.
Once their plans were in place, each class led a community service project. The projects from each school were creative and demonstrated their learnings from the course.
The Avalon students chose to focus on the problem of illegal dumping in the Wilmington area. The students recruited volunteers and engaged Council District members in their efforts. On their community cleanup day, they filled two large dumpster bins with large items such as couches and mattresses . They also raised awareness of civic resources such as the 311 app which links Los Angeles residents to a wide range of services.
The problem of trash making its way to local beaches was the challenge Angel’s Gate students took on. They engaged with the Marine Mammal Center and discovered more about the ways trash impacts marine life. Using social media the students ran a fundraising campaign for the Center. They also organized and took part in a beach cleanup day at Royal Palms Beach in San Pedro.
Students at Simon Rodia learned about the impact of air quality and urbanization on the ecosystem. Knowing they wanted to make a small change in their area they worked with community members to build and plant a protected garden that will serve as a breeding space for Monarch butterflies. Monarchs are important pollinators and have been declining in population for many years. The students hope to contribute to a better urban environment with their garden project.nbsp;
The students at Patton decided to take a different approach to their project. They were inspired by grassroots advocacy efforts and focused on the air quality issues in the Harbor City area. Together they put together a comprehensive presentation and presented it to the South Coast Air Quality District.
The lack of greenery on the Moneta campus concerned the students there. They learned about the importance of plant life for air quality and a healthier environment. Working with the leadership of the school the students installed plants throughout the school campus to help create a healthier learning environment.
The partnership with HCBF was fruitful for Sharefest’s youth. They worked hard to uncover the many environmental challenges the Port area faces and came up with creative solutions to make change. More importantly, they learned the importance of caring for and contributing to their communities to create healthier spaces for all.