vla students learn that "Making a difference starts with Me”
Village Leadership Academy students positively transform their communities.
GrassRoots Campaigns (GRCs) are an essential component of the social justice curriculum at Village Leadership Academy where every student participates in a comprehensive yearlong service-learning project designed to address a social, political, and/or economic issue impacting their communities.
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Through their participation, students expand and refine their leadership capabilities through innovation, critical thinking and inquiry, public speaking, action plan development and implementation, social justice advocacy, media literacy, and acquired community organizing skills.
“Change The Name” Campaign Students
Additional Program Info
GrassRoots Campaigns strengthen the skills needed for students to enact social change.
Through their participation, students:
- Learn about the issues that are affecting the people in a community of choice
- Discuss ways in which to intervene and assist individuals in need
- Work towards correcting societal inequities and injustices
- Develop essential leadership skills by encouraging students to think critically, developing their public speaking abilities, and planning for and executing programs, presentations and interdisciplinary activities
In 2020, a middle school VLA GrassRoots campaign group successfully changed the name of Chicago’s Douglass park to pay homage to African American abolitionists. This work was highlighted in a documentary called “Change the Name” which was aired on BET.
Another kindergarten class worked to lower violence in their community by developing and implementing conflict resolution workshops with preschool students, participating in the Cease Fire anti-violence rally, and writing letters to legislators to ask for more funding for violence prevention initiatives.
Another first grade class focused on assisting families in crisis by raising money to purchase CTA bus cards and collecting gently used business attire to donate to a women and children’s shelter on the west side of Chicago, traveling to and speaking with legislators in Springfield to advocate for additional funding for childcare.
Community – We strive to develop a sense of unity within the school, community, nation and world.
Leadership – We seek to empower, nurture and inspire individuals to be innovative and resourceful leaders within their own spheres.
Scholarship – We encourage intellectual curiosity, knowledge acquisition and dissemination, and expansion of educational practices for performance improvement.
Responsibility – We hold ourselves accountable for carrying out our roles in an exemplary manner.
VLA students gain essential leadership skills as they amplify their voice, demand accountability from influential forces, and work to reduce social barriers. GrassRoots Campaigns promote robust problem solving skills as students and teachers work collaboratively to solve an identified societal issue directly impacting students’ communities. The deep, interdisciplinary learning, growth, and development gained from participating in the GrassRoots Campaign process are invaluable for our students and provide them with a firm foundation towards becoming proactive 21st century thought leaders, innovators, and critical community problem solvers.
14 years have passed since my story with ITAV began. I am so grateful to the ITAV family for allowing my three daughters and me to be part of their great family. There have been great moments and memories that will always remain in my mind. Thank you ITAV for your support and commitment.
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