May 25, 2013
We would like to invite you to Newton North HS Thursday June 6th from 10-12 to update you on our year of incubating Mass Nine for the 9th. You can check out our progress here.
During the meeting we will update you on this year’s experience in New Orleans with Mass Nine for the 9th, and discuss the potential of you joining us next year. We will have available a blueprint for the trip to New Orleans, and we hope that during the meeting you can help us fill in the blanks.
Please email me with any questions and RSVP email@example.com.
We just returned from New Orleans where the kids did some amazing work. It was a truly rich experience. Nine carpentry students helped to remodel a woman’s home who has been living in her trailer in her front yard for the last seven years. Her stories to the students were moving and the kids really connected with her, this was evident in their consistent hard work each day. Students didn’t want to leave. They wanted to see the project through to the end. Please check out our photo gallery for recent photos.
The emerging technical skills of our students will be brought to the service of those most in need: the residents of the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans. Displaced by Hurricane Katrina, at least 8,000 to 10,000 families are still unable to return to their homes. We will collaborate with at least nine Career Vocational and Technical Education schools (CVTE) from across Massachusetts, to create a curriculum of caring as we help to rebuild homes.
The goal of Mass Nine For The 9th is to return a family to their home and to strengthen the Character development of our students.
Massachusetts CVTE students and staff will offer a variety of building trades to the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans. Students will work for nine successive weeks on the same project, under the management of The St. Bernard Project, in order to restore a family to their home. Our curriculum, Leadership In A Diverse Society, will provide a conduit for students to experience a classroom without walls. Students will engage in rich cultural exchange, and begin to synthesize their understanding of the political, racial, social, and economic regional realities that have resulted from this natural disaster. This in turn will help to foster an understanding of community service as a responsibility to citizenship. Through this building process, our students will become builders of a better world.
A year after Katrina, Peter Goddard, a Newton North English instructor of Leadership in a Diverse Society, began to discuss some of the fallout from Katrina. Out of these discussions emerged student desire for an appropriate response that was mindful of justice. The question was asked “what can we do to help?” In the Spring of 2006, Mr. Goddard and 25 students volunteered their time and energy in New Orleans. These students and faculty cleared brush and painted houses. Two years later Garrett Tingle, carpentry instructor at Newton North, partnered with Peter to include his students. It was a natural progression to expand the program to include students with building skills. During Garrett’s first stay in New Orleans, he and six students were able to meet a family, and helped to remodel their home by creating handicap openings. They shared a powerful story of devastation and loss. There was a clear connection made. After six days this crew left feeling as though they had made a positive contribution.
The following year, Garrett and his students returned to New Orleans, very excited to see the fruits of their labor. What transpired was surreal. The man of the house was sitting in his front yard in his pick up truck. This is where he often sat because he had no finished home. The group exchanged greetings and said they wanted to see the finished interior. Sadly, he stared at their faces and said “No one’s done a damn thing since ya’ll left”. The kids were stunned, devastated and mad, but nothing compared to what the homeowner must have felt. All of a sudden they were part of a reality of an unfinished script. Out of this experience was born the idea for Mass Nine For The 9th, because good will without skill only goes so far. What is needed in New Orleans is continuity of skilled volunteer labor where homes can be completed under the umbrella of an agency that can manage a project from start to finish.
Mass Nine for the Ninth is an initiative born out of the Newton Public Schools Innovation Lab.