East Grand 8th-graders learn civics through service | SkyHiNews.com

East Grand 8th-graders learn civics through service

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Learning how to become positive members of society can be a difficult thing to teach children.

All the broad philosophical discussions of a classroom can seem disconnected from reality when actually trying to engage others to effect change.

To that end East Grand Middle School Teacher Abby Loberg annually has her students work on a service-learning project. The projects are civic-oriented and focus on addressing local needs.

"How better to teach civics than through experience?" said Loberg. "Sometimes the kids have to work with local government or local charities."

“How better to teach civics than through experience? Sometimes the kids have to work with local government or local charities.”Abby LobergEast Grand Middle School teacher

The entire eighth grade class at East Grand Middle School works on the project. The service-learning program at East Grand Middle School is the brainchild of Loberg who teachers eighth grade social studies and health.

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In years past students have worked on projects such as: creating a Granby Recreation Center, establishing a countywide bus service, youth mentorship programs and creating a community college.

"More years than not the idea the kids came up with did not work," said Loberg. "Failing and losing is part of the civics lesson. Also learning to deal with people who disagree with you is part of it. Even though you think it is the greatest idea in the world, things can be controversial. Almost everything is controversial to someone."

Each eighth grade class develops its own idea for the annual project. "The key to the service–learning project is the idea has to come from the kids," said Loberg.

After the proposals have been developed they are presented to a panel of judges, made up of East Grand Middle School teachers and occasionally other community members. The judges then vote on one project plan that will become the year's service-project. The selection process occurs in Nov.

Betting on veterans

Oftentimes the annual project is a large fundraiser such as last year's fundraiser for the Mountain Family Center. For 2015 the students will be holding a poker night fundraiser for the Rocky Mountain Warriors Organization, headquartered in Grand County. The event is being called "Place Your Bets for the Vets".

The idea came from eighth-grader Addie Feek, her own father a veteran of the South African military.

It will be held at the base lodge at Granby Ranch on March 5 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and will feature a spaghetti dinner for $10. The dinner will include salad, garlic bread and soft drinks and is being prepared by the staff at the Granby Ranch Grill. Eighth-graders from East Grand will act as servers and wait staff. Granby Ranch is donating the use of their event space for the evening's activities.

Casino tables and professional dealers from casinos in Blackhawk will be set up and taking bets for games such as craps, roulette, poker and black jack. Attendees can purchase $75 worth of chips for $20. Players can win tickets in the games and enter tickets into prize drawings that will be held at the end of the night. A wide variety of prizes have been donated by local businesses including a two night stay at Snow Mountain Ranch, ski passes to Winter Park, original artwork from local artists, spa supplies and much more.

All proceeds from the event will go to the Rocky Mountain Warriors Organization, led by Nathan Newkirk. The Rocky Mountain Warriors Organization is a nonprofit that seeks to provide wounded warriors and other members of the armed forces with therapy and relaxation in a natural environment. They schedule hunting and fishing trips for veterans in Grand County among other outdoor-focused activities.

So head on down to Granby Ranch on March 5 to try your luck and place your bets for the vets.

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