First Person Narratives: Prospective HW 7th graders describe advocating in D.C.

Thirty-seven sixth graders from Carlthorp School traveled to Washington D.C. with the nonprofit organization KidUnity from March 12 to 15 to learn about civic engagement and journalism. Three students, who are considering joining the Harvard-Westlake Class of 2023, describe the trip during which they advocated for Congressmen to back their causes and met with policy experts and media professionals. 

On the flight to Washington, D.C., I could barely stay in my seat as I thought of the endless possibilities that lay ahead. Our mission was to give a voice to those who could not be heard. Save the Children is an organization that helps children in poverty all over the world. We previously visited their branch in nearby Lake Los Angeles, California. At our meeting with the STC experts at their D.C. headquarters, we brought attention to bill H.R. 272. This legislation would help give parents jobs. According to “The Economy Collapse,” 102 million working-age Americans are jobless. If this bill is passed, unemployed parents will get jobs and be able to better educate and feed their children.

After these meetings, we also had time for fun. We toured the White House, visited the Capitol Building, and viewed Lincoln Memorial on a snowy March night. At the White House, we saw a $4.5 million table and the famous portrait of George Washington that was saved by Dolley Madison during the War of 1812. In the Capitol Building, we saw the Apotheosis of Washington painted in 1865 by artist Constantino Brumidi. By the Lincoln Memorial, I was awed at how stunning the reflective pool looked, half frozen, sparkling in the lights from the stars above. Although we may be sixth graders today, we hope to continue making a difference in the years to come.
 –Rohan Anand

My Washington D.C. trip with KidUnity was so inspirational to me. I not only learned of what went on in the nation’s capital, but I also got to be part of it. My group, CHANGE in Nepal, wanted to improve the chances of children in rural Nepal getting education, so we decided to advocate to several people including four exceptional women at the Brookings Institution, Global Giving, and even our Uber drivers!

 

We wanted to create what we called was the Kaksa Kit. It would be a kit that contained self-teachable curriculum for reading and writing, various supplies such as whiteboards and workbooks, and a few items to help with hand-eye coordination. We didn’t have the money to create these ourselves, so we sought advice from the many people in Washington D.C. and rounded up some signatures for a letter we were writing to the whiteboard company to donate 75 of their whiteboards to us.

We learned that in Washington D.C., you have to move fast and manage your time. You have to be ready for anything and everything. If a meeting got canceled, you scheduled another one as soon as you could. If there were no meetings, you all walked down to Starbucks and discussed your next moves.

In conclusion, Washington D.C. taught me perhaps one of the most important lessons I will ever learn. Even though I’m young, even though I’m inexperienced, I can make a difference.

–Yoshimi Kimura

Traveling to Washington D.C was life-changing, because we experienced the trip as children, students, and most importantly, advocates for our causes and projects.

While meeting some of America’s most influential organizations, companies and people, my service learning group learned the true meaning of service. Service is not just the actions and contributions made by people, but also the thoughts and dreams that inspire those actions.

With this in mind, my group worked extra hard to gain support and advice from everyone that we met with. We learned that we can always do more to improve someone else’s life, and there is always more that we can do to improve our knowledge and character.

The name of my service learning group is, “CHANGE In Nepal,” or, “Coalition Helping Adolescent Nepalis Get Education.” In rural Nepal, children have so many chores to do at home that they often cannot go to school. Our solution is bringing the education to them, with a KaskāKit (classroom kit), including a self-teachable curriculum for reading and writing, using the western concept of phonics.

We shared our passion for our project with everyone we met with, but we also visited many monuments and buildings. Some of these were the White House, Capitol Building, FDR memorial, Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument. All of these places looked even more magnificent in real life than they did in pictures.

Through meeting some very influential people and exploring the Capital city, everyone learned more about their country, their project, their friends, their leaders, and most importantly, themselves. We all discovered that with enough courage and hard work, we could gain the support of ambassadors, reporters, volunteers, and everyone that we met with. A twelve-year-old can make the same impact that an adult can, as long as they are passionate, respectful, and persistent.

With this new knowledge, every group will continue to work hard on their projects, and we now have the support that we need. We will never forget our trip to Washington D.C., and hopefully, we can make such a big impact, that Washington D.C. will never forget us.

–Claire Conner

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