Steve Dowding from New Vision Middle School in San Bernardino has received a $5,000 Sodexo Foundation School Engagement Grant to lead 6th, 7th and 8th graders in a semester-long service-learning program to study and address childhood hunger in the local community.
Service activities kicked-off during Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, Nov. 10-18, 2012, and culminated this past weekend on Global Youth Service Day, April 26-28, 2013, an international service event celebrating the contributions of children and youth.
Dowding’s project is designed to help address hunger, an epidemic that greatly impacts the city of San Bernardino.
With the utilization of extensive service learning curriculum provided by Youth Service America, New Vision Middle School students have developed year-long projects that aim not only to impact the community in which they live, but also to instill the importance of helping those in need. Students have responded by organizing canned food drives, building vegetable garden beds, and developing educational materials to create awareness around the issue of hunger.
Sodexo at California State University, San Bernardino, along with university leadership and students, have joined with New Vision Middle School to promote wellness and hunger awareness. Sodexo and CSUSB have supported in the New Vision Middle School project through countless hours of service―aiding students with the construction of eight new garden beds and giving educational talks activating youth to be catalysts for innovative solutions to end hunger in America.
Dowding is one of 14 Sodexo Foundation School Engagement grantees from across the nation. Offered by Sodexo Foundation and YSA (Youth Service America), an international leader in youth service and service-learning, the grant supports educators in a Semester of Service, a program that engages students in at least 70 hours of service and learning designed to promote student achievement, career and workforce readiness and stronger communities.
“Educators have a unique opportunity to cultivate a sense of social responsibility among our youth,” said Robert A. Stern, chair, Sodexo Foundation. “Our School Engagement Grants provide the support they need to help youth understand and tackle issues of childhood hunger in local communities.”
“When students apply classroom learning to real-world challenges that affect them, we see incredible impact on the students and on the communities served,” said Steven A. Culbertson, President and CEO of YSA. “Thanks to Sodexo Foundation, Steve and countless other educators and service-coordinators, we are putting young people on the frontlines to put an end to childhood hunger.”
About Youth Service America
Celebrating 25 years of youth changing the world, YSA (Youth Service America) improves communities by increasing the number and the diversity of young people, ages 5 to 25, serving in substantive roles.
Through campaigns, grant programs, resource development and training opportunities, YSA promotes a global culture of engaged youth committed to a lifetime of service, learning, leadership and achievement. For more information, visit the Youth Service America website.
About Sodexo’s Fight Against Hunger
Sodexo Inc. and Sodexo Foundation work to help end hunger in the United States. Sodexo Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit with the mission to end childhood hunger. The foundation works to ensure that every child in the United States, especially those most at-risk, grows up with dependable access to enough nutritious food to enable them to lead a healthy, productive life.
Sodexo Foundation cultivates and maintains strategic partnerships with regional and national hunger-relief entities and youth mobilization organizations-all part of Sodexo’s STOP Hunger Initiative, its global program to end hunger and malnutrition in the communities where it operates. Sodexo is headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md. and funds all administrative costs for Sodexo Foundation, which since 1999 has made more than $17 million in grants to end childhood hunger. Visit www.SodexoFoundation.org for more information.