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Thursday June 22nd 2017

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Students parlay learning into activism

Augsburg Fairview Academy students and staff on a field trip in Downtown Minneapolis to purchase clothing for the Hope Closet Photo credit: Anonymous Pedestrian

Augsburg Fairview Academy students and staff on a field trip in Downtown Minneapolis to purchase clothing for the Hope Closet
Photo credit: Anonymous Pedestrian

By Liz Saunby

Augsburg Fairview Academy was established to give urban students a first-hand view of Health Care careers. Throughout the years the school has evolved to fit the needs of their students, increasing student support with the addition of an Indian Education Program, Social Work Department, Work Based Learning Program and expanding the Special Education Department.

Over the years, many partnerships have been formed to increase student access to resources. One of the strongest partnerships has been with First Universalist Church of Minneapolis. A course in Social Justice that was facilitated by one of their members, Deb Rogers, led to Augsburg Fairview Academy students choosing to work on Housing Justice. The Hope Closet was established by students during the 2012 – 2013 school year to provide their fellow students with food, toiletries and clothing.

The Hope Closet is now managed by Hope Club, a group of students who want to make a positive difference in their lives of students who are experiencing homelessness. Donations are provided by members of the First Universalist congregation with suggestions from Hope Club. Students are also able to purchase items through a grant from the First Universalist Foundation. The Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship Public Achievement Initiative has also provided support in organizing students during the 2015 – 2016 school year.

Public Achievement, an initiative of the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship at Augsburg College [see Sabo Center article page 8], works with Augsburg Fairview Academy students on student-led projects that address community needs. During the current school year students working with Public Achievement have created a speaker series titled “What Would Justice Do?” Community members have been invited to speak on panels that address the themes of Gun Violence, the School to Prison Pipeline and How Music Affects Youth.

Students at Augsburg Fairview Academy are provided a safe space in which to find and develop their voice, they are supported in addressing issues that affect their communities. They learn how to tap into resources that will assist them in creating solutions that make a better society, and bridge the gap of racism and poverty.

Liz Saunby is Augsburg Fairview Academy Indian Education Coordinator, Records Specialist, Indian Home School Liaison & Recruitment Coordinator

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