Starfish take Social Action

Jessie Curry is 22 years old and from Iowa. She works as a mentor and tutor for Wing Luke Elementary's 5th grade class. One of her favorite student moments was when a second grade girl decided to give the City Year Team nicknames. Jessie was named "cute eyebrow."

The Starfish Corps after-school program promotes academic success, educational learning, service, and positive leadership for 3rd-5th grade students. The program is run by City Year corps members. During the day corps members work as in-class, full-time mentors and tutors. In the afternoon, corps members run the Starfish Corps after-school program.

The Starfish Corps at Wing Luke Elementary has been hard at work learning about “needs and wants”.  For the past six weeks, the students have learned about many facets of the phrase “needs and wants” through a variety of activities including art projects, relay races, and games.

The Samsung City Year Team at Wing Luke Elementary provides intensive in-class tutoring as well as the Starfish afterschool program.

The Starfish gained an understanding of how wanting a new gaming system and needing food to eat are different experiences just as wanting friendship and needing to feel cared about are different experiences. Through a role playing game, the Starfish discovered how a family’s size, salary, and unexpected life events can change what a need or want is for that family. The Starfish also explored which elements are needed in a community to create a positive environment for people to live. In addition to learning about wants and needs, the Starfish had the opportunity to take action and fulfill the emotional needs of patients at the Seattle Children’s Hospital by creating cards and letters for them.

The Starfish Corps discussed how there are issues, such as stealing or bullying, that can affect our needs and wants. To address these issues, the Starfish created public service announcement videos that spoke out against acts that impact the ability for students to feel safe and happy at Wing Luke. The goals for this project were for the students to be creative, work together, and send out a message about why the issue is wrong, how it impacts them, and to encourage others to make choices that would positively affect the Wing Luke community.

Students in the Starfish corps participate in after-school programming.

The Starfish definitely stepped up and produced great videos surrounding the ideas of bullying and stealing. Each team put a different spin on their Public Service Announcement and expressed powerful opinions including:

“Stop bullying now.  Pass it on.”

“Don’t steal; it hurts people’s hearts.”

“Stop bullying.  It needs to stop.”

“Stealing makes me feel unsafe, sad, and angry.”

Not only did every student participate in this project, but the teams had the chance to speak out against real issues that have recently occurred in their school. The City Year team at Wing Luke hopes to incorporate the videos into Monday morning assemblies so that the Starfish Corps can address a need in their school for social change and awareness.

By being a part of this program, the Starfish students have the chance to share a powerful message with their peers, elicit change through creative videos, and fulfill a social need for their school.

*Text written by Jessie Curry.

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