Making a change in the world can seem like a large and daunting task. But taking the time to gain perspective on an issue and tackling it piece by piece with many small ideas and actions is the most effective way to see the difference and impact one person or a group of people can make.
That is exactly what one cluster of students at the CEC Middle College are doing as part of the Aspen Challenge school competition which, according to the Aspen Institute is “an opportunity for students’ creativity, team work and ingenuity to shine as they strengthen their leadership skills.”
The CEC Student Board of Education accepted its mission to make change in the community by entering this competition alongside 19 other Denver high schools, and coming up with strategies to create a solution to one of seven major world issues, presented by the Aspen challenge organization.
Of all the options presented to the CEC Aspen Challenge team, the students chose to focus on suicide prevention and are coming up with creative projects to address the problem, educate their peers and involve the community. This team, which includes eight students, has seven weeks to address the issue of suicide among teens – one of the leading causes of death for young people in America. On March 1st, they will present their work to a panel of distinguished judges as well as the teams from the other schools. The winners will be invited to attend the 2014 Aspen Ideas Institute in Washington D.C., receiving recognition as one of the nationally ranked schools in this competition. To get there will require hard work and innovative thinking on the part of the students as well as participation from the entire school.
“As the coach of this team, my responsibility is to encourage thoughtful, big ideas,” said teacher Stephanie Price. “The students have spent hours coming up with plans intended to spread joy and a sense of family in our community in an effort to eliminate feelings of isolation and helplessness.”
Through the creation of their new club “DNA” (Denver’s Not Alone) and plans to spread positivity throughout the school, CEC’s Challenge Aspen team hopes to reach their goals of addressing this issue and bringing it to the forefront for others to become aware and join the movement.
Challenge Aspen students look forward to keeping the school and community updated on their progress and hope to actively engage and include all who want to be a part of this project.
The first event the students will sponsor will be a school-wide “DNA Day” on Friday, February 7th which will include a variety of individual and team building activities.
For more information or to see how you can volunteer to help, please contact Stephanie Price, sponsoring teacher at: Stephanie_Price@dpsk12.org