The Ignite Roseland Elders Project worked to build bridges between IGNITE Middle School and the Roseland Community while helping address elderly isolation and the real-world learning needs of students.
"A diverse team working together towards a common purpose can accomplish much."
- Student Reflection
Researching the Impact of Gentrification
During the FEEL stage, students researched the cause and effect surrounding gentrification. Students investigated the reactions - including the pain and hurt - and the overall impact of school closings as a part of the gentrification process. Specifically, they narrowed focus on elders' responses and the issue of elder isolation as a result of such community changes.
Conducting a Series of Conversations in the Community
During the IMAGINE stage, students brainstormed alongside peers, teachers, local elders, neighbors, and community leaders. This collective ideating took the form of a series of long-term and ongoing conversations with stakeholders. From these conversations, students chose to connect with and to interview, capture and honor the stories of elders in the community.
Capturing the Stories of Elders
First, students joined community elders at their monthly Brunch & Bingo. Following this initial event, students invited elders to the school to conduct interviews. To prepare, students learned skills such as photography, videography, leadership, interviewing, technology, questioning, conversing, storyboarding, and collaboration. Students conducted the interviews and elicited feedback, reflected on their experiences, compiled data and artifacts from the interviews, crafted follow up questions and planned for another round of interviews. Finally, students worked together to create products to honor the stories of the elders. These products include videos, storyboards, photo collages, and written memoirs.
Sharing and Honoring the Stories of Elders
Students shared the stories at three venues:
1. An Impact Night at IGNITE Middle School with elders, families and community members
2. The Rose – a community center – invited students to set up a display of the project in the lobby of their building
3. A Dallas university displayed the students' project on their campus and on their social media platforms
In reflecting on and sharing these stories, students' appreciate and feel even more, the honor of receiving the elders' stories, and the responsibility of sharing those stories with excellence and dignity.