Gordon Parks' Home

by Maya Park | Apr 03, 2013
| 1 Comment

Summary:

A great St. Paul is one in which all of its constituents are thriving. The idea is to build a student co-op where the students of Gordon Parks High School, who come from all over the city of St. Pau, can stay when they find themselves without shelter, allowing them stability as they work towards their academic goals. This idea was inspired by my students who disappear, reappear, and disappear again because they are house hopping; with or without their families. The home idea was inspired by my sadness & frustration at losing my students to homelessness, jail, or death. There are students in & out of the homes of friends and family, who live in & out of hotels, or their cars. One of our students, who had been living out of her car, was found this past winter, dead. One of my current students was put out of the shelter he & his mother were staying in, because she had to go to the hospital & he no longer fit the criteria for the shelter. This idea is to protect & provide for those students until they are able to do so themselves in a positive & healthy way. This idea would include the development of a curriculum focused on relevant life skills such as personal finance: how to make money, how to save, how to invest, & how to respect money without worshipping it. In return, students will give back through their attendance & grades, volunteering in the community, working in the school garden, partnering with local businesses in order to generate income to support the home; their home. This idea will make St. Paul greater by ensuring the students are safe first and foremost, but also given an environment that fosters a sense of belonging & community. If we truly want to make St. Paul greater, we need to ensure all of the people within it feel connected, & as if they belong. “To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul.” Simone Weil: French Philosopher, Social Activist.

About You

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About You

First Name

Maya

Last Name

Park

City

County

Country

United States

Website (if you have one)

Names of others who helped contribute to my idea

Paris Carruthers

How did you hear about the Forever Saint Paul Challenge?

Through a visitor at our school, and a weekend meeting at our school.

About Your Organization (if applicable)

Organization Name (if applicable)

Self

Organization Website

Organization Phone

Organization Address

City

Organization Country

United States

Your idea

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Title of your idea

Gordon Parks' Home

Give us the highlights of your idea for making Saint Paul great (2,000 characters maximum or approx. 250 words)

A great St. Paul is one in which all of its constituents are thriving. The idea is to build a student co-op where the students of Gordon Parks High School, who come from all over the city of St. Pau, can stay when they find themselves without shelter, allowing them stability as they work towards their academic goals. This idea was inspired by my students who disappear, reappear, and disappear again because they are house hopping; with or without their families. The home idea was inspired by my sadness & frustration at losing my students to homelessness, jail, or death. There are students in & out of the homes of friends and family, who live in & out of hotels, or their cars. One of our students, who had been living out of her car, was found this past winter, dead. One of my current students was put out of the shelter he & his mother were staying in, because she had to go to the hospital & he no longer fit the criteria for the shelter. This idea is to protect & provide for those students until they are able to do so themselves in a positive & healthy way. This idea would include the development of a curriculum focused on relevant life skills such as personal finance: how to make money, how to save, how to invest, & how to respect money without worshipping it. In return, students will give back through their attendance & grades, volunteering in the community, working in the school garden, partnering with local businesses in order to generate income to support the home; their home. This idea will make St. Paul greater by ensuring the students are safe first and foremost, but also given an environment that fosters a sense of belonging & community. If we truly want to make St. Paul greater, we need to ensure all of the people within it feel connected, & as if they belong. “To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul.” Simone Weil: French Philosopher, Social Activist.

Website address (if applicable)

Innovation

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What makes your idea different or unexpected? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

This innovative idea is based upon the most recent research on teaching and learning, and breaks down the silos of traditional education to expand the classroom outside of the four walls during designated school hours. In our rapid and ever-changing society, the challenges of many of our students today simply can’t be met during those designated hours. The needs of so many of our students go beyond academic pursuits, and society is recognizing the part we can play in ensuring our children are receiving the teaching they need to succeed not just academically, but as contributors to continuing a successful and worthwhile community. It is not enough to stuff oneself with facts and theories, one must understand how to utilize the information to better our society and ensure its continuation. “People are the solution to the problems that confront us. Technology is not the solution, although it can help. We are the solution -- we as generous, open-hearted people who want to use our creativity and caring on behalf of other human beings and all life.” Margaret Wheatley: writer, management consultant. This is a pilot program that, once implemented successfully, can be modeled all over the country to ensure that truly, no child is left behind. It is innovative in that it will be an autonomous association of persons who voluntarily cooperate for their mutual, social, economic, and cultural benefit.

Impact

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This Entry is about (Issues)

How will your idea make a difference in Saint Paul? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

St. Paul is a city rooted in a unique culture of pride among those who live in it. This pride is driven by shared values of safe and vibrant communities, thriving economies and strong social networks. Yet, there is still an opportunity for St. Paul to be an even greater city, by providing the opportunity for each and every resident of its city to feel the same sense of pride many have felt their whole lives. This idea will make a difference in St. Paul because it will create the same feeling among those who have been pushed aside. It will allow for the same sense of pride within those otherwise disconnected because they will be acknowledged and not dismissed. It will make a difference because it acknowledges that people make up a city, and every person in the city of St. Paul matters. “A sense of belonging,” writes Dr. Kenneth Pelletier of the Stanford Center for Research and Disease Prevention, “appears to be a basic human need – as basic as food and shelter. In fact, social support may be one of the critical elements distinguishing those who remain healthy from those who become ill.” It will make for healthier members, increasing the numbers contributing to upholding the values that preserves this great city.

Sustainability

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Why do you think people will recognize or remember your idea after it comes to life? How might it inspire others to do something similar in their community? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

Having this place will bring the community together more, because the students will be out in the community as volunteers. We can invite community members to work in the garden. Community members can offer classes at the housing, or even work there. I think it will be something to be proud of because the students will be earning their rent through their grades, their volunteering, and their gardening. The students of Gordon Parks, who don't reside in the housing, can also take advantage of the life skills classes. It will be bettering the citizens of Saint Paul, which in turns betters the city itself. People will remember and want to duplicate it because they will see that it is possible to help everyone.

Additonal Questions

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For your idea, what does success look like? (4000 characters, approx. 500 words)

Success is when all students will have a safe place to sleep at night, given the option to continue their studies, allowing them more opportunities to be self-sufficient, contributing members of the city. Success comes when our students aren’t worrying about where they’re going to sleep at night, where they’re next meal will come from, and where they can store their belongings. When our students are able to continue going to school without having to pack what they can fit in a backpack and move into a hotel for a while, stay with a friend in Brooklyn Park for a while, move to a cousin’s in Minneapolis for a while, or sleep in their car for the night, that will be success. When our students realize they have something valuable to contribute to our city, and their lives mean just as much as the next person. When our students are given the opportunity to utilize the artistic and creative skills they have in music, painting and drawing, film, spoken word, writing, in addition to the more traditional areas of mathematics and science within the various venues around the city, small and large businesses, and higher education, this project will be a success.

Our students’ success will impact the crime rate, and the economics of our city. Often times, our students are put in survival situations, and this program will be a success when our students are no longer simply surviving, but existing in a healthy and happy way, and finally thriving in a responsible and caring way. When our kids move past their current circumstances and form a community among themselves. When they become contributing and valued members of this community of St. Paul, this project will be a success.

What are the top three things that would likely need to happen in the first year to get your idea started? (4000 characters, approx. 500 words)

In the first year, we need to acquire the necessary Gordon Parks’ homes for our students to exist. Ideally, this would be a house or two. We need those committed adults who are willing to take ownership of this until our students are ready to share the leadership. We need people of integrity involved, who are committed to creating an environment that will feel like a home, providing safety, trust, love and high expectations. It will also be important to secure the strong backing from the community as far as commitment, capacity, and partnership. We need our students to continue coming to school despite their hardships, knowing we are creating this space for them to continue with their education. Finally, we need our students to trust long enough to see that this is indeed a home for them during the time they might need it. We need the students to believe in what it stands for, and understand that it is an open and safe place for everyone who might need it. The students need to take ownership of it, and make it what they need it to be for themselves, and for those who will come behind them.

Which organizations, groups, and/or people might be involved in implementing your idea? Why do you think they would be a good fit? (4000 characters, approx. 500 words)

Anyone and everyone could be involved in this project! The most impactful partnerships to begin with would include the school itself, and the other organizations already involved with our students such as law enforcement agencies, social service agencies and health organizations, in addition to the art connections and organizations we have, and our career focused organizations. From there, I see partnering with Common Bond so the students can receive the services they offer, and become part of the services they offer to others. I can see us partnering with Ujamaa place, as a mentoring program, giving and receiving. Rondo Inc. is a potential pool of strong mentors for our students. It is proven that without a strong, consistent, and positive adult in their lives, many young people fall to the wayside. The school is already forming a partnership with the University of Minnesota on an academic level, and we need to expand that kind of connection with the other higher education institutions so that our students know that is a logical, and accessible next step for them. I’d like to partner with the YWCA/YMCA to utilize their wide array of resources and opportunities, and infuse our students as providers of some of those programs. It is also important that our students gain experience in the professional and career oriented world, so it is important to build relationships with any and all businesses who might offer our students training, exposure, and finally employment. Finally, I’d like to expand the amount of arts partnerships we have in the community. We have a wealth of talent in our school on so many levels. Some of the most positive outlets our students have for the emotions they try to contain are played out in creating their music, spoken word, painting, theatre, and we need to foster that more by providing connections and stages for their talents.

marya lusy said: I think this idea can build St. Paul larger by guaranteeing the scholars area unit safe initial and foremost, however conjointly given ... about this Competition Entry. - 2662 days ago read more >

Maya Park updated this Competition Entry. - 2791 days ago

Maya Park updated this Competition Entry. - 2807 days ago

Maya Park updated this Competition Entry. - 2856 days ago

Maya Park submitted this idea. - 2856 days ago