In the spring of 2012 Jamila created a FREE 20 week after-school enrichment program for “at risk” students from foster homes, low income families, and single parent households in inner city Los Angeles.
In Jamila’s words: ”I established a Youth Earth Club for 3rd-5th grade students to educate students and the school on environmental issues, promote green initiatives, and to build awareness, responsibility and accountability for our planet and community in inner city youth. Each semester there are 30 students in the Earth Club and they meet for two hours each week. We are going into our 12th week of the Earth Club this fall semester and completed a shorter 8 week version of the program this summer. Through the program, students learn valuable information on current environmental problems to promote solution based activities to help the planet, their school, and community.
It has been a blessing to receive the $1,000 grant from the Pollination Project and the funds have made a huge difference for me running my Environmental Training Program for students. It was a struggle launching the program the first semester as I had no community support and no funding. At the time I invested my own small income to start working with the students and school. The Pollination Project was our first official grant received for the program and without the funds we would not have been so successful with making a sustainable impact with our students this summer and fall.
My Project involves experiential learning with hands on activities, projects, and games to instill in students the importance of taking care of the Earth, themselves, and their community. Students learn team and leadership skills by working together to create rules, elect officers, and to implement small group projects. During the program, students are educated on a specific concept each week such as: recycling, reducing, reuse, composting, gardening/tree planting, energy conservation, water reduction, emission reduction and trash reduction/landfills. After the major concepts are covered, principals are reinforced through fun, interactive games and simple yet sustainable hands on projects. With guidance and support students are also given time to create and implement a project to make an impact in any area they choose to help the environment.
The $1000 donation has enabled us to work with and directly impact 60 students in a low income community from July 2013 to present date. We are also able to educate and create change for the broader school population of 334 students, their parents, and the community through interactive contest and activities run by our Earth Club. For summer and fall we were able to have the needed funding in place beforehand and were able to purchase seeds, soil, composting bins, gardening tools, labels, fencing, and materials such as journals, pens, pencils, crayons, paper, trash bags, and cameras. We were also able to purchase student certificates, prizes, and awards. This removed the burden from asking the Earth Club to pay dues or asking the school or parents to pay a weekly fee for the Club. Instead of using the money raised for the program supplies our weekly fundraisers are now able to be utilized to help purchase teacher wish list items, school supplies, and to be able to provide free parent workshops.
Without the Pollination Project grant I would not have been able to get all the materials needed to work with so many kids and parents. Without reminders students are now picking up more trash off the school yard and litter has been reduced tremendously on campus. We have been successful with implementing school wide recycling we have put in place plans to run a E-Waste collection drive every semester. Another direct benefit of the $1,000 grant is the fact that I am now able to support the parents of our students by offering free nutrition/exercise workshop expanding our impact. This grant has helped us to sow invaluable seeds of education and support to many people. This grant has inspired me to continue to seek support as I sacrifice my time in service to give back to our environment and to help support kids and families in need. Receiving this grant has inspired me to continue to strive for and seek positive change in the world around me and has taught me that even though some may consideration $1000 a little grant, in my world it is true that a “little” does go a long way when it comes to helping others.”