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Lexington-Richland: Classroom to Community Connection

Team members: Row 1 (l-r) Verlon Rhodes, Simon Scott, Shawn McDaniels
(not pictured: Gerald Gary, Michael Harris, Greg Owings)

Classroom to Community Connection heavily relied on the belief that the experiential learning of positive affinity coupled with the art of giving, would increase a middle school student’s appreciation of charity and decrease the presence of negative early teen apathy. The group partnered up with Richland/Lexington Five School District's Dutch Fork Middle School and had a total of 90 participants all ranging from 12-15 years of age. Each participant was tasked with completing a minimum of twenty "good deeds" within 35 days. Each deed had to be properly recorded and submitted to their assigned adult mentor. Classroom to Community Connection used a mixed method (Qualitative & Quantitative) research approach to ensure the proper measurement of effectiveness. In an effort to get the participants to commit themselves to the art of giving and their individual role as community change agents, CTCC confronted and dissolved through a series of interactive exercises the negative presence of nominal social barriers that are generally self-created and/or based on socio-economic classifications. A horizontal presence of affinity, appreciation and acceptance for one another increased each participant's interest in promoting a school wide atmosphere to give...absent the expectation of receiving anything in return. Once the team was able to make the art of giving attractive, it then became overwhelmingly contagious, thus having a positive effect on not just the students but also their parents and the overall faculty. Classroom To Community Connection's primary goal was to decrease the presence of apathy by encouraging each participant to care about those things that they should care about and to provide them with the tool of giving others, so that they can begin to leave this place better than how they found it.