Reflect Yourself

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How might we excite middle schoolers about becoming advocates for bike safety?

A group of One Stone students spent their summer researching an issue often in the news in the Treasure Valley: bike safety. Since 2007, there have been 1,195 bicycle crashes — including 11 fatalities —  in Ada County. Speaking to experts in the community including Boise Bicycle Project, Treasure Valley Cycling Alliance, Idaho Mountain Touring, and Idaho Walk Bike Alliance, the team realized younger students who often ride their bikes to and from school could benefit from learning how to keep themselves safe from accidents involving cars.

During the ideating stage of the design thinking process, the Bike Safety team recognized that a common theme in accidents involving kids was a lack of visibility during dark hours when kids ride their bikes to and from school.

The team partnered with Mrs. Johnson’s 6th grade class at Riverside Elementary, where the majority of students ride their bikes, for an interactive event called, “Reflect Yourself!” The One Stone team began by gathering the 6th graders into the gym where they could see the difference in how much time it takes cars to stop for pedestrians that are easily visible due to bright and reflective clothing compared to those that are wearing all dark colors.

After seeing for themselves how much of a difference wearing reflective materials makes during times of low visibility, the 6th graders were given reflective tape and key chains to decorate their backpacks, helmets and bikes. Safe Routes to Schools donated front and rear bicycle lights for each student and the class received pamphlets that the team created about safety tips for riding at night.

Outcomes

50 yards of reflective tape adhered to bikes, clothes, helmets

60 bike lights distributed

28 6th graders - increased bike safety - check!

What did participants have to say in their own words?

“My favorite part of this activity was decorating our helmets with reflective tape and talking with the cool and funny high school students.”

“I learned that it takes drivers a long time to stop if they don’t see you. That’s why it’s so important to have reflective gear on!”

“I will wear my helmet more because now it is so blinged out!”

"Thank you for teaching us about bike safety. The reflective tape makes me feel safer at night."

"You made my backpack WAY cooler!"

In the students’ own words:

“A few days after the project, I was driving on ParkCenter, and I saw one of the 6th grade students with their backpacks decked out! It was great to see our project having an impact so quickly and one that was close to my community. Later that week I saw another kid walking around downtown at night who also had their backpack blinged out with reflective tape. It was awesome to see that the kids took our project to heart and changed their habits because of it.”

Launch

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How might we equip kids entering 6th and 7th grades with methods to cope with the emotional challenges of junior high?

Launch was an event at the Boys and Girls Club of Ada County aimed at preparing 6th and 7th graders for the social and emotional challenges of junior high. Through the design thinking process the team looked at the many factors that lead to mental health challenges in kids. After speaking to several mental health professionals and reflecting on their own experiences, the team decided to take on the issue of “transition.” Many children face additional stress and anxiety during times of transition, whether to a new place or stage in life, and the additional emotional challenges can create or aggravate existing mental health issues if children don’t feel prepared. From this insight, Launch was born.

One Stone members shared personal stories from their junior high experiences and led activities relating to the themes of 1) positive self image, 2) building a support system, and 3) dealing with big emotions. Recipients created skits helping them practice how to handle real-life situations such as arguments with family members or friends, as well as wrote letters to their future selves full of advice, reminders, and encouragement. The event ended with an ice cream treat and reflections on how to make the transition into Junior High as easy as possible.

Outcomes

Words of reflection from the team:

“I was so impressed with the thought that the kids put into their future self letters.”

“I wish I had these tools when I was going into junior high.”

From the recipients:

“This event was really helpful. It’s nice to know other kids are having similar worries about what junior high will be like.”

One word reflections:

Reassuring

Exciting

Change

Family

Friendship

Fun

Stories

Finding Happiness

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How might we start a chain reaction of happiness in the community?

This summer, a group of students dove into the topic “finding happiness.” The group began their research by watching the documentary “Happy” and interviewing experts in the community including Terese George, a mindfulness coach, and Karen Lowe from Simpatico about emotional intelligence. The group traveled to various places around Boise including malls, parks, and daycares, interviewing anyone they could about what it means to be truly happy.

After identifying themes that lead to happiness including being grateful, a strong connection with nature and recognizing one’s own emotions, the team concluded that relationships often play the most important role in being happy. They asked people in the community to nominate someone they know who inspires happiness to receive a celebration for their hard work and dedication to improving the lives of others.

After sifting through nominations, the group crowned Mr. Jon Swarthout, founder of TRICA, as the “King of Happiness.” After a performance by his dance students at the Saturday Farmer’s Market, the students dressed in fun costumes and paraded Mr. Jon and his daughters through downtown in a decorated rickshaw that would be donated to TRICA as a means to spread even more joy. The parade ended at the TRICA building where Mr. Jon gave a tour and spoke about his mission to bring happiness to children and their families through the arts.

Outcomes

15 students, 14 dancers and at least 50 people from the general community were present to witness the award and parade from downtown Boise to TRICA.

From the reflection of a One Stone student, “We realized that he would be a great fit for our nomination because he teaches children the art of dance while bringing joy to both the children and their parents. His life embodies what we feel is happiness. His drive, his purpose, his attitude, his outlook on life emits happiness, and we wanted to recognize that.”

“Thank you so much. This award means so much to me. It is an award greater than any sum of money.” - Mr. Jon Swarthout

Bystanders enjoyed the presentation and shared:

"Thank you for doing this! Mr. Jon really deserves this."

"The best part was that it not only impacted Mr. Jon, but everyone that was watching."

"Recognizing how somebody else makes people happy helped me reflect on what makes me happy. This inspired me to work towards my dreams, because anything is possible with determination."

Open Book Adventures Camp 2016

Open Book Adventures Camp 2016

How might we help reverse the ‘summer slide’ in literacy skills of underserved 1st-3rd graders?

Open Book Adventures is One Stone’s free literacy mentoring program for underserved youth across the Treasure Valley. During this summer’s second iteration of the project’s summer camp, thirty-five 1st–3rd grade “Buddies” were paired with One Stone student “Adventure Guides” for three full days of reading, writing, games, crafts and connection.