Hi it’s Kai again! I’m back and writing my third and final blogpost on the overlooked and forgotten people of Philadelphia. If you remember my previous posts “Do You Care” and “The Overlooked of Philadelphia” you’ll know that my focus are the citizens of Philadelphia who have been overlooked by our government.This topic is important to me because it affected me and so many others. I have talked about the Germantown Avenue Crisis Ministry and the Abbotsford Falls Family Crisis and Counseling Clinic being a place where a number of our community members are forgotten. When I talk about being forgotten I mean the many citizens of Philly who are not being taken care of and not given the respect they deserve. The more we come together as a people to try and fix our failed system the stronger it’ll make us.
I knew that for my agent of change I wanted to do more than just bring in cans or gently used clothes. Constantly reminding my class mates to bring in supplies wasn’t what I had in mind for my project. In my previous blogs talked about the Germantown Avenue Crisis Ministry and the Abbotsford Falls Family Practice and Counseling clinic being a place where many have been forgotten. That was only an example. Philadelphia is a big city and the more people I made aware the better. For my agent of change I wanted to make sure everybody knew about the problem we are facing as a community. Our city is suffering at the hands of our leaders and nobody has been stepping up to fix it. Our school system is failing, there are a limited amount of health professionals who take patients without insurance, every other day a kid dies at the hands of a gun, and the amount of homeless people is outrageous. So after going through all my options I decided on an interactive presentation during advisory. My presentation focused on the failing school system because that would connect with students more than anything else.
In my presentation I showed six different school logos. Three of which are neighborhood school and the other three are magnet schools. I asked my advisory what the difference was between the schools. As my advisory was talking they really came to realize that there was a problem. The fact that there is such a big gap between the difference in test scores from a school like South Philly High and SLA or Promise Academy at King and Central. After I talked about the different schools I wanted to ask if there were any schools you got rejected by that you were considering for high school. Like myself many students were considering three or four schools but only got into one or two. All of us were lucky to get into SLA but tens of thousands of other students end up having to go to their neighborhood schools which aren’t academically challenging. When you teach students to compete for schools and some kids end up in sub par schools you also teach them not to care. They think: well I’m not good enough to get into this school so I’m must not be smart. That is the wrong message to send to the kids who will run this country.
My topic isn’t something that you can fix overnight, when you’re talking about whole cities there is little that you can do to make a huge impact. So I concluded that the best way to change any problem is through education; after all you can’t fix something that you don’t know about. While most Philadelphia students know about the budget crisis and our failing school system not many know the details, like what is happening? who is doing it? and what can we do to fix it? I hit all these points and more in my presentation in a way that engaged my peers. By the time I finished my project I really felt as though I had gotten my point across and I was really being heard. The advisory was asking questions about what they could do to help and they were thinking about alternative options to fix what our government had broken.
The biggest lesson that I learned wasn’t through my research as much as it was through my class. It felt really rewarding to know that I wasn’t in this boat alone, that there are other people who want to take action in my cause. I am confident that my peers are not only aware of the issue but willing to help by writing and letters and trying to get our voices heard. I plan on continuing my agent of change even after this project by getting a group letter sent to Governor Corbett. This project has allowed me take on a topic that is really important to me and for that I’m grateful. I had always known that the forgotten of Philly was a problem but I never knew how to fix it. Through this blog I figured out how.