On Friday, Jan. 13, Temple University’s College of Education, Office of Sustainability and Computer Recycling Center partnered to teach the importance of community service to students at Dunbar Promise Academy in light of Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.
“We are taking this opportunity to deliver and share Dr. King’s philosophy into community service that helps and strengthen our direct community,” said Susie Suh, the assistant director of Development & Alumni Affairs.
Throughout the day students learned the benefits of sustainability. Through a demonstration by Urban Jungle, an organic retail shop in South Philadelphia, students and volunteers developed a living wall, which will remain mounted in the science classroom. The living wall will utilize the Woolly Pocket planter system, a flexible, breathable, and modular gardening container.
“We are exposing [students] to the benefits of plants inside and how greening can help a community,” said Kathleen Grady, the sustainability coordinator. “We are using the example of a living wall to show how you can add green spaces to an urban environment.”
By incorporating arts and crafts and environmental science, students created their own individual planters. The supplies used were all examples of the three R’s of the environment: reduce, reuse and recycle. Students also received a lesson on how urban gardening can provide them with better food options. The planter that they created serves as initiative to get students thinking about making real change in their communities by implementing community gardens. More than 100 bottles were collected from Temple recycling and the art and crafts were reclaimed office supplies from the demolished University Service Building.
Parents also benefited from resources available to them through the parent resource room at Dunbar where they could come to learn and discuss issues pertinent to the community. Representatives from Temple’s Human Resources and Center for Social Policy and Community Development tabled and hosted a resource fair where parents could learn about job opportunities.
Through Temple’s Computer Recycling Center, six refurbished computers were installed to complete computer stations. Organizations like, Temple’s Pan-African Studies Community Education Program, will provide parents with computer literacy programs at an inexpensive cost. Jonathan Latko, director of the Computer Recycling Center said this component of the project was especially important considering that more than 40 percent of Philadelphians are without daily access to a computer and Internet.
“To me, it seems the racial divide of MLK Jr.’s day has been replaced with a ‘digital divide’ that transcends race, color and creed,” Latko said. “Creating this computer resource lab for the parents of Dunbar School, is one way we help bridge the divide that exists in today’s society and further fulfill his dream.”