Four UP for Learning Youth Facilitators shared stories from the Cultivating Pathways to Sustainability program during this past school year, when their partnerships took place in fully virtual settings. In Vermont, the facilitators partnered with Shelburne Farms to work with teams from Williston Central School, Montpelier’s Main Street Middle School, and the newly established Vermont Virtual Learning Academy. Without the restrictions of in-person gatherings, UP has been able to expand the reach of CPS, meeting with youth in the state of Mississippi and in Nepal. Teams from each school looked at the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, then designed a project that would address a particular need in their community. The projects ranged from holding antiracist book group discussions, building solar panels for chicken coops, and cleaning up plastic waste. Students at Piney Woods, a boarding school in rural Mississippi, focused on increasing the level of youth leadership, and, after many students expressed interest in working towards the goal of “Reduced Inequalities,” established a series of Racial Justice Dialogues between youth in Vermont and in Mississippi. These vital virtual conversations will continue throughout the 2021-2022 school year. UP’s youth facilitators spoke about how much they learned while working in partnership with the school teams, including how to be a more confident public speaker, as well as how important it is to listen to others’ stories to gain new understandings and perspectives.
Learn more about the impressive projects that each school undertook: