By Berkeley Maple
Many of us are taught empathy from the time we can walk. We are encouraged to lend a helping hand and show kindness to those we meet. It’s always flaunted, whether it’s a school poster or an inspiring new video. However, there are many stigmas around young adults, some of which provide the implication that they are reckless and selfish trouble-makers.
However, an ever-growing and diverse group of students decided to accept the challenge of breaking through those stereotypes. As a result, One Stone’s Project Good came to be. Everyone in the program meets after school to discuss what challenges they want to tackle next. While there are always new challenges circling through, they all have one thing in common: Empathy. Each of the challenges focuses on how the students can practice empathy while giving back to their community.
One of the many successful projects is Open Book Adventures (OBA). OBA has recently started up again and is a popular topic of discussion around One Stone. For those who don’t know, OBA is also an after-school program that works with 1st and 2nd grade children. It consists of activities and games that are centered around encouraging kids to read.
Another touching project was called Mission: Memoir. Mariel Zupsic, One Stone Assistant Chief of Staff, described the importance of the project: “Knowing that many elders in our community are approaching the end of their lives and want the opportunity to pass along their stories, experiences, and wisdom, a Project Good student team partnered with the Idaho State Veterans Home to help their residents leave a legacy they could be proud of.”
For a couple weeks, students sat down with each resident and documented all their stories and memories. They became very close with the residents and many made a connection without realizing it. After hearing everybody’s stories, the students worked to create personalized books. They compiled all the photos and stories into a book and then laser-etched personalized, wood covers for each person. After all the books were completed, they presented the books to the residents in the home. Students and residents alike said it was a very moving experience and were glad that they had the opportunity to partake in the project.
With new students looking to join, and old students keeping the spirit alive, Project Good has created many memories and has many more to come.