Since Mid-September 2018, Arroyo students that are part of our now 5th Rite of Passage session have met every Tuesday from 3:30 to 5:00 pm, under the leadership of teacher Jorja Santillan.  We have presented and discussed information about different elements that nurture healthy people and a healthy community, beginning with an introduction to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), as a frame of reference for how each element addresses one or more rights spelled out by the UDHR. The elements covered include:

Recreation, Education, including Media Literacy and Financial Literacy, the Arts, and Health, including Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and the concept of Emotional Intelligence. The following describe some of the content presented, as well as the Community Action Project developed by the students.

In early October, Hilary Bass, Executive Director of DSAL, presented information on how Recreational opportunities, such as open park space and access to athletic activities, contribute to the health of the community. As part of her presentation, Hilary provided the charts below to show the factors contributing to the health of the community, as well as the Criminogenic Factors that must be addressed to prevent violence and crime. Here is a link to additional material about the importance of Recreation, as presented by Hilary Bass to our 2015-16 Class.

Click to enlarge the images:

In November the students learned about financial literacy, gaining information about the importance of saving money, how to create a budget to help make good spending decisions, and how to manage their credit to minimize debt.

In December and January, students learned about different aspects of Education, including media literacy. They learned about how to evaluate sources of information, particularly via the Internet.

In February, the students were presented with information about Emotional Intelligence to help them gain a greater understanding of the importance of such competencies as self-awareness, self-control, empathy, self-motivation and constructive communication to the full development of their potential. Here is a link to the outline on Emotional Intelligence.

In March, the students attended two workshops at the REACH Ashland Youth Center Art Studio, led by Joaquin Newman and Jerarde Guiterrez, the directors of the REACH Art program. The students worked on their own section of a mandala while discussing the power of art to express ideas and generate emotional connection to concepts. The finished product reflects how each participant’s work was part of what would now reflect a beautiful collective effort.

Community Action Project – Wellness is for Everyone

Since January 2019, the Rite of Passage students have been determining and then implementing their Community Action Project. We began by having the students select the UDHR Articles that they felt reflected issues in their immediate community that they wanted to address. The students provided examples of situations related to these UDHR Articles. They then voted on the UDHR Articles they wanted to focus on and began discussing the situations associated with these Articles in more detail. The document shown via this link provides the stages of discussion that led the students to focus on addressing the high levels of stress and anxiety being experienced by themselves and their peers.

Guest speakers from the Arroyo High School Wellness Center, as well as from the Niroga Institute, an organization that trains educators to teach mindfulness, helped the students gain clarity about how they could take action to help themselves and their peers minimize the negative impacts of stress.  Their first action was to help bring greater awareness across Arroyo High School about the presence of the Wellness Center as a major resource. As part of this, the students wanted to help get across the idea that going to the Wellness Center was a sign of healthy thinking, rather than feeling this was an indicator that there must be something wrong with seeking psychological support.  The students designed a logo for the Resource Center, then created a flyer to advertise about a late March Open House. The students then created a flyer as well as a poster that can be posted around the campus to encourage use of the Wellness Center.

The students prepared a slide show along with a handout to provide information about what wellness is, what mindfulness means, and how to utilize tools and resources to manage challenges. On Thursday, May 9th, the students presented to about 250 10th graders across the Arroyo campus. The teachers from the classes provided positive feedback about the quality and effectiveness of the presentation!

Culminating Presentation

May 29th, our 2018-19 Rite of Passage class presented their work to their peers, friends, family, and community.

Full Performance

Excerpt: Put Down Your Phone!

Excerpt: Human Rights Wish

Excerpt: “Anyway”