“Premiere Day – Yorktown Service Project”

-Ron Lapitan, Community Outreach Coordinator
When a Health as Right group forms, it picks a social problem in the community that it cares about and spends the semester designing a service project to address it.
One school we had the privilege to work with this year was Yorktown High School, where our group consisted of a 9th grade ESOL class. The problem they picked was racism, which they chose to address by making a video to educate their school about the problem.
Yesterday was our grand premiere. As the teacher Ms. Smith and I put out refreshments and literally rolled out a red carpet, our student Zainab, who served as our enthusiastic director throughout filming, walked in nervously and practiced her lines as the MC in front of her friend Jennifer.
“We would like to thank the principal and also the director of minority achievement for taking time to attend our premiere,” she said to the audience of two classes and other staff from the school who packed the room. “We made this film to show that racism is a great problem, and it affects many people. We hope you enjoy.” The crowd applauded supportively.
After the movie, the class split into groups to discuss reflection questions we had prepared about racism. The students had much to say, having a great awareness of prejudice in society, but also showed hope in the potential of people and culture to change. The principal and the school’s director of minority achievement were part of those lively discussion groups and were greatly inspired. They thanked Center for Health and Human Rights for working with the class, then asked if we would work with another ESOL class next semester.
It was also my last day with this class. I thanked them all for the inspiring experience, then gave them each a CHHR bracelet as a memento of our time together. The bell rang, and I shook hands with each of them on their way out.
“Why do you have to go?” asked Maydeline and Nicole half-jokingly.
“I wish I could stay,” I said with a smile.
Saying goodbye is bittersweet. An experience ends, but a seed is planted, which is the realization of a cohort of youth for their own power to turn ideas into reality. People like me come and go, but these seeds, once planted, are a treasure that nothing can destroy. Now I move on to another garden.
“Education should not be the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” — William Butler Yeats
#youthteams #healthasright
(Image: Zainab addressing the audience.)
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“Yorktown’s Racism Video”

-Ron Lapitan, Community Outreach Coordinator
High school youth teams
Our Health as Right team at Yorktown High School just finished their semester service project, which was to film a video to educate their school about racism and prejudice. Their first screening will be this Monday and will be attended by the principal in their classroom.
From one of our students Yaren:
“The main idea of this video is teaching people not to be racist. If you are racist, the people near you will have bad thoughts about you. No one likes racist people. What do you think you will have if you are racist? In our story we showed people how it makes them feel when someone judges them in a racist way. In the first scene we showed how people in their day to day life can hurt someone with only just a few words. I hope you will enjoy the story and see what a bad thing racism is.”
Said another student Ede:
“We created this video to show Americans that no matter where you are from, everyone should be treated the same way as others, and also because racism is a big problem in the world. This is why we decided to make a video about racism to show people that we are all human, and we all deserve respect.”
#healthasright #youthteams
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This Week at CHHR

-Ron Lapitan, Community Outreach Coordinator

Tuesday 11/28

Talk Show Appearance: A representative of CHHR participated in an interview for the Virginia Report, a talk show hosted by delegate to the VA General Assembly Ken Plum, to talk about CHHR’s projects to address local poverty and inequality. The program will air on Reston Comcast Channel 28 (Verizon Channel 1981) on Tuesday, December 26 at 7:30 p.m. and again on Wednesday, December 27 at 10:30 p.m. It is also viewable on the Virginia Report’s Youtube channel



Free Sports Physicals: CHHR doctors and staff travelled to the International High School at Langley Park in MD, a school whose student body is 100% immigrants and refugees, to do free sports physicals for athletes to enroll in sports. Our medical staff also visited our Health as Right team having their meeting across the hall at the same time and answered questions for the students, who all aspire to go into medicine. (Image: CHHR staff with athletic coaches.)



Wednesday 11/29

Anti-Bullying Video: Our Health as Right team at Yorktown High School, consisting of an ESOL English class, started filming today for their service project to create a video to raise awareness about the experience of immigrants and reduce prejudice and bullying, which will appear on the Yorktown website. Acting and directing were 100% student facilitated.



Thursday 11/30

Letter to Cole’s Closet: Our Health as Right team at Liberty Middle School drafted and sent a letter to Cole’s Closet, an NGO which collects toys to donate to children in local hospitals, to inform them that they will be organizing a toy drive at their school as their first service project. In the process, the students learned about formal letter writing.



Public Health Presentations: In Richmond, student leaders of the VCU Health as Right team met late into the night in a library study room to organize their first service project; to facilitate interactive public health workshops for students in the “East End,” the side of Richmond which is the site of concentrated poverty.



(Image: their planning board.)

Friday 12/1

Club Phoenix: The after school group Club Phoenix, composed of middle and high schoolers from throughout Vienna and Fairfax, enthusiastically joined the Health as Right youth program and chose “recycling” as the topic of their first service project. (Image: their brainstorming sheet).



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