21st Century Charter School @ Gary students are rolling up their sleeves and helping out the community! One Saturday morning in early May, 21c students, parents, and teachers came out to lend a hand in the City of Garys annual community cleanup. The results of their hard work included sparkling sidewalks, a well-manicured playground, and even a wood installation built by our own Principal Chris Evans.

On Monday, May 18, Ms. Burr brought two senior student organizations that she heads, the Cougar Belles and Young Kings, to volunteer at local Gary homeless shelters. Ms. Burr, the upper school front desk, was accompanied by Officer Yanders, who is part of the 21c community thanks to the schools School Resource Officer (SRO) program. SROs at 21c are provided thanks to the joint efforts of the Greater Educational Opportunities (GEO) Foundation, and a Safe Haven grant from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI). This nationally accredited program seeks to foster positive relationships between schools and area law enforcement by stationing officers on-site at schools to act as security guards who are involved in school disciplinary processes, as well as integral members of the school community. The hope of SRO programs is that students and police develop positive relationships with each other, so that learning and law enforcement work together in harmony.

Ms. Burr and Officer Yanders brought the seniors of the Cougar Belles and the Young Kings to the Sojourner Truth House, a Gary womens shelter, where they donated canned goods. The students also gave fruit, pens, and paper to My Brothers Keeper, a Gary mens shelter. It was a humbling experience for some, and an eye opener for others, Ms. Burr commented. Our goal was to help our students understand how to appreciate their lives, and the things and people they have. We wanted to show them that it is an awarding experience to be able to give back, especially to the community from which you came. Hopefully, the community service activity will prompt them to be more appreciative and help them become more active participants within their community. Great things are happening at 21c and Gary, IN!