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2009 Implementation Award Winner

Freewall: Making Space for Diversity

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This project is about developing community and acceptance at Center Alternative School in Kansas City by inviting the students to participate in a creative dialogue about all things worthy of love. Because these students are academically disadvantaged, disabled, probationary or have low socioeconomic status, the problem of bullying is a major concern. Bullying divides students, hurts self-esteem and inhibits education. This project is designed to counteract bullying by giving each student an even platform for self-expression. Their messages focused around love will transform a cool-blue banner into a warm, all-inclusive community creation.
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Logan Smith
lgsmith@kcai.edu

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June 18, 2013
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The wall created entirely by the students at Center Alternative School became a positive symbol of community and diversity.
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Students posted their messages on the cool blue wall. As the wall filled with stickers it came alive with warm tones and personal meaning.
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The 24-inch posters created by miss Mary’s class were hung around the school to introduce the rest of the students to the project.
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The students have total freedom with their stickers, from the messages to the arrangement.
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The students have total freedom with their stickers, from the messages to the arrangement.
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Center Alternative School is a last resort for students who have been unsuccessful in school. Many of these students’ situations stem from serious developmental problems at home. Issues of anger and self-esteem become catalysts for bullying. The vicious cycle continues as students become victims at home and at school.

 
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What would it take to stop bullying in school? Students need to be willing to participate in the solution cooperatively. They need to feel a sense of belonging, empowered to speak, and pride in their involvement. Each student's message of love helps fight intolerance and contribute to the solution.