in the News seeks to both educate and empower students for action around pressing global issues.  The current refugee crisis has been particularly salient with the incoming new administration, and we were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to partner with Art of Hope to hold a design workshop at St. Elizabeth Catholic Academy.  We love the work of Art of Hope because it focuses on the damaging emotional trauma that refugees, particularly women and children, face in fleeing their countries.  While International Non-governmental Organizations focus on meeting physical needs, Art of Hope provides for the emotional needs by holding art therapy and counseling services to Syrian refugees in Lebanon.  While an issue as big as the refugee crisis can seem like an overwhelming problem to anybody, we believe that there is still some action, however big or small, that we can take.  In this 2 hour workshop with middle school students, we focused on educating around the issue, developing empathy for refugee children by identifying with the stress of feeling uprooted in a new and foreign place, experiencing loss, and overcoming loneliness.  We then utilized design thinking to think of activities or exercises that help relieve stress or emotional distress that any child can do anywhere.  Some of the ideas were so refreshing and creative.  Many ideas focused on stopping bullying or forming friendships.  Others were more specific to the stories of the refugee children, such as Khalid, who had a speech problem and was often bullied, where St. Elizabeth students suggested having other children coach Khalid on new words and practicing with him so that he felt confident to speak.  Solutions like these were both empowering for students to come up with, and encourages students to consider more thoughtfully the actions they can take.  This is the philosophy and mission of to equip and empower students for action-oriented impact.

For more examples of the amazing student work, check our gallery below.