I work for a non-public school in Northern California. My students each have various backgrounds, but all of them struggle in their daily lives, as well as in public schools. Most have been expelled out of every school and end up in a "restrictive" environment because no other schools will take them.
I recently began a Unit in English Language Arts with my 7th and 8th graders about what it takes to overcome challenges and struggles? I've never seen a group of preteen BOYS, boys who have a history of hating reading, writing, and anything relating to anybody else, I've never seen the learning and the transformation of a student occur so drastically in the first few weeks of school!
I started the year off with a nonfiction novel by Linda Sue Park, "A Long Walk to Water". Instantly, my class was enraptured! Every day they beg me to continue and every day we speak of the Lost Boys and Salva and Nya's experiences in Sudan. The kids' identify with these children from Sudan and for once, they begin to rebuild their own down falls, self-esteem, and lives by relating and being empathetic towards the Lost Boys. I wanted to take the journey of the Lost Boys and empower these inner city kids and it's the kids, just like in the novel, that teach the most valuable lessons. I love seeing the classroom climate in this way because in many cases the public school system or teachers have failed in the past and it takes a lot to break the barriers of heart ache and mistrust.
My students and I want to help contribute to the Northern California chapter in hopes of honoring all the Lost Boys of Sudan, and with special respect to Salva and Nya. We would love to meet you all!