Following up: TCS's plan to help Spokane

Posted by Community Relations staff on 4/23/2020

A couple weeks ago, we spoke with The Community School facilitator Nate Seaburg about the new school-wide project called “Supporting a Community in Crisis."

Students were tasked with researching past crises and ways people or groups came together to help their communities. Then, the students developed their own ideas of how they could support others in the Spokane area. Starting this week, students will start figuring out how to turn their ideas into actions.

We caught up with Nate to get a quick progress report of how this project is going and what students are working on.

SPS: Hey Nate! How's everything going so far?

Nate Seaburg: Really good. I mean, it's been fun. We've had really good participation from the students … I think it's a combination of students desperate for something to do, some structure, some way to give back and reach out and help out, and a combination of just some really good kids. They want to do this.

SPS: What kind of ideas have the students come up with so far?

NS: We have 41 ideas that were laid out in a sort of, "Let me justify this to you. Here's what I'm thinking. Here's how I want to do it." And we had a whole range of things. We had some really just small acts of kindness and checking in and I'm going to care about my immediate neighbors or my family and I commit to reaching out to at least one of them every day. We had people wanting to plant gardens and donate vegetables, baking bread, to big ideas. Ideas that we had never really thought of. Kind of people wanting to fight disinformation and set up a set of websites that are specific for information specific to Spokane and specific for Washington state.

SPS: One of the first phases of the project was to look back at history and see what other people have done to help people get through times of crisis. Things like tin drives or victory gardens. Did the students like having the historical aspect of the project?

NS: I think they really did. You mentioned the tin drives and the victory gardens … I would actually connect making masks to the kind of historical aspect of it because all of that stuff that happened came out of what's the greatest need. And since the CDC has come out saying that everybody should wear masks in public, we suddenly have a very real need for somebody to sew on some basic elastic to some cotton and call it a mask. So I think that idea is the one that I would most strongly connect with history and I can't speak for sure that that's where this came from, but I think there were some cool connections that were made early on that informed the decisions students made later.

SPS: What are all the TCS facilitators thinking about this?

NS: It's been fun. I think it's given us a way to connect with those students on a little bit more of a daily basis. And I know that the other facilitators, just like myself, are super proud of our students. They've done a great job. And now, we're planning all sorts of other learning opportunities.

(This conversation was condensed.)