The Tusculum students spent a week working with the Chuckey-Doak eighth graders to teach them about the principles at the center of “The Power of Five” program, which was developed by the national America’s Promise organization in conjunction with Weekly Reader.
The “Power of Five” encourages young people ages 11 to 14 to fulfill a modified version of the five promises central to the America’s Promise program’s efforts to strengthen communities to enable youth to lead successful lives. Tusculum is a College of Promise and CDMS is a School of Promise in the local Greeneville/Greene County’s Promise organization, a program of the Volunteer Center.
During the past week, the Tusculum students, members of a service-learning class taught by Robin Fife, assistant professor of social science at the college, visited the eighth grade classes to teach four of the five promises. The Tusculum students involved the eighth graders in such interactive activities as role-playing skits, art projects, and open discussions to teach them about the importance for children to have a caring adult as part of their lives, the value of having a safe place to go after school, the significance of learning marketable skills, and the benefits of good nutrition and exercise.
The week’s activities culminated on Monday (Feb. 26) with a special presentation by both the Tusculum students and eighth graders about the week’s activities and what the CDMS students had learned. Participating in the presentation were Chuckey-Doak students Stafania Collins, Ashley Gill, Natalie Guzman, April Hooper, April King, Brook McCamis, Natasha Parker, Alexis Penley, Kaylee Proffitt, and Ruby Townsend. The Tusculum students included Gala Barrentine, Cheyenne Casteel, Bryant Cook, Cerene Eddo, Aubrey Furster, Cody Greene, Ronnie Harris, Josh Hinkle, Seth Lady, Ross Lewis, Wesley Spurgen, and Cody Wiggin.
Attending the presentation were representatives from the Volunteer Center, Tusculum, Chuckey-Doak, and the Greeneville-Greene County Community Ministries. Mary Fitzpatrick, director of the Volunteer Center, and Dr. Kim Estep, provost and academic vice president at Tusculum, spoke briefly to the students.
Ross Lewis, speaking on behalf of the Tusculum students, thanked the Chuckey-Doak eighth graders for welcoming the college students into their classes, giving them their respectful attention and participating in the activities. Fife also thanked the students, their teachers, and the CDMS administration for allowing the college to come and work with them in the Power of Five program.
While the Tusculum students taught the eighth graders the first four promises, the fifth one involved the Chuckey-Doak students taking the initiative. This promise involves giving back to the community through service, and the eighth graders conducted a canned food drive to benefit the Food Bank operated by the Greeneville-Greene County Communities. The students collected several hundred cans of food, which was accepted during the presentation by Carol Thornburg from the Food Bank.
Thornburg thanked the students for their efforts, noting that the Food Bank relies on volunteers daily to be able to provide food and other assistance to families who find themselves in situations in which they need help with their basic needs.
Students in LeAnn Myers homeroom at Chuckey-Doak collected the most cans, 288, and were rewarded with a ‘healthy party’ hosted by the Tusculum students.
Service-learning classes have been involved in Power of Five projects in local schools since the fall of 2002, and their efforts have been featured in publications of the America’s Promise organization.