Two Out of School Time programs (OST) have won a $10,000 grant to support an anti-bullying campaign.
The programs, run by Catholic Social Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, serve 50 students in the summer camps at St. Martin de Porres in North Philadelphia and De Paul School in Germantown.
The focus of the grant is to promote cyber safety by gathering youths from different neighborhoods and encouraging them to work together.
Over eight weeks this summer, students are working collaboratively online using Google Docs, Skype, and KidBlog.org to create and share an anti-cyber bullying message with peers in hopes of promoting change within their communities.
Students learn how to make a video for a public service announcement, develop print campaign materials, design web content and maintain social media components that send an anti-bullying message.
Joint social activities throughout the summer include a “meet and greet” barbecue, a fieldtrip to iPlay America, scavenger hunts and a youth dance, all focused on putting anti-bullying efforts into practice.
“It is vitally important today for staff leading our youth to be aware that digital media is the pulse fueling the interests of our children,” said Kate McDowell, education coordinator for OST programs. “It is our responsibility as educators and mentors to help kids develop proper etiquette for communicating and collaborating online. We are pleased to receive the funding to help our staff to do just that.”
The grant is part of a national effort to promote learning programs by nonprofit organizations that help young people use technology safely. It is funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
“The competition this year is designed to engage young people in solving a real-world challenge – making the Internet a safer and more powerful place to advance learning,” said Connie Yowell, director of education at the MacArthur Foundation. “The ability to meet that challenge will help determine whether education will be more relevant to both young people and the economy where they will be eventually looking for work.”