Update from a WtS Vermont mentor

Since meeting with NGLN youth this summer and hearing their inspiring ideas for making change in their communities, I’ve gotten to focus on mentoring youth here in Vermont through What’s the Story Youth Action Program. This fall has been filled with thought-provoking blog exchanges with young people working on issues from food justice and animal rights to equity in digital access for rural communities. One of the things I love about this program is how it encourages youth to formulate their own learning trajectory – to figure out what issues matter to them and what questions they need to answer to be able to make meaningful change. As an educator, I love watching how conversations between young people – whether via blogs or Google hangouts – allows for a shared process of meaning-making and inquiry. I am grateful to be part of a process where I can help youth refine their thinking through asking questions and drawing connections between their ideas.

I’ve been striving to incorporate the WtS philosophy into my daily classroom practices, allowing for more opportunities for young people to direct their learning and engage with community issues they care about. While much of the logistics still need to be worked out, I’m particularly excited for the upcoming exchange between my Vermont students and Brent Peter’s Kentucky students, which will center on food justice issues in our respective communities. Next weekend is also the first of this year’s WtS Vermont retreats. I’m excited to help create a space for these young people come together to share their ideas and develop their social action teams. Thank you to BLTN & NGLN for connecting me to so many passionate, innovative people who are finding ways to create positive change.

Fallon Abel

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