Category Archives: Global Citizenship

Glide Minister Speaks at Hamlin

Wednesday afternoon, we welcomed Reverend Harry Louis Williams II. Reverend Williams has worked at Glide Memorial Church for the past 13 years. He spoke with Grade 7 students about his outreach ministry with people experiencing poverty on the streets of East Oakland and the Tenderloin in San Francisco.

Reverend Harry Louis Williams II, is a minister and social activist hailing from Oakland, CA. He is the author or co-author of eight books, ranging in genre from Black History to Urban Fiction. In 2015, the Oakland City Council awarded Williams a proclamation for his work in healing street-level violence in the Oakland, CA inner city, as well as his efforts to bring awareness to the epidemic of commercial sexual exploitation of children and comfort to its victims.

Reverend Williams spoke to students about the difficulties faced by children born into poverty. He asked audience members to visualize a recent excursion he took to East Oakland’s “Village Homeless Encampment.” He described a 4-year boy named Michael who lived in the encampment without parents, electricity, daily hygiene, and a regular source of food. He asked our Hamlin students how Michael would be treated when he started elementary school. Students responded with empathetic sentiments, expressing how alone and alienated Michael would likely feel.

Reverend Williams told our students, “you are fantastic, the future is yours, you are someone’s answer.” He closed by encouraging our girls to give back and volunteer to help others who are not as fortunate as they are.

 

Lava Mae Visits Hamlin

For the past two years, The Hamlin School has had a close partnership with the nonprofit Lava Mae.

Lava Mae brings critical services to the streets – delivered with an unexpected level of care we call Radical Hospitality™ – to rekindle dignity and hope for people experiencing homelessness through our Mobile Hygiene Service, Pop-Up Care Villages and buildIt toolkit.

Hamlin students have volunteered at Pop-Up Care Villages helping to distribute clothing and food to our unhoused San Francisco neighbors.

Jamie Ramirez and Kao Choua Vue from Lava Mae, visited with Grade 7 students yesterday. They shared videos, led students through simulations, and shared the following points (among others):

We deeply appreciate the warmth of Hamlin students who have volunteered with Lava Mae.

Lava Mae practices “Radical Hospitality,” a high level of care for our unhoused neighbors.

People on the streets rise to the level of care that they are given.

How you are treating people matters. Even just making eye contact and saying hello to someone makes a difference.

What if we all practiced “Radical Hospitality” to each other every day, what would our world be like?

To learn more about Lava Mae, please visit: https://lavamae.org/

 

 

Hamlin Student Works with Refugees in Bangladesh

This summer Cassidy, a Grade 8 student, led with her heart while working with Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. Prior to her journey Cassidy did extensive research, identifying the problem in the region with guidance from her social studies teacher, Heather Smith.

Myanmar’s Muslim minority, known as the Rohingya, have been attacked with impunity, driven from their homes through violence, murder and rape, and forced to seek refuge. The UN considers the Rohingya people to be the most persecuted people on earth. Starting in August of last year, their plight worsened when Myanmar’s military started systematically killing them and burning down their villages. Since then, over 900,000 refugees have fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh. The UN has described the situation as a textbook case of “ethnic cleansing.”

Cassidy then created a plan of action to address this challenge of her time. Below is her plan, in her words.

I am passionate about ending Human Trafficking in the world and had already arranged to work against trafficking with activists in Dhaka.  As the refugee crisis developed and worsened, I knew we had to do something to help in the camps as well.  This summer, I will volunteer in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 2 shelters that protect trafficking victims, I will put together survivor kits, give hugs, play with the children, and do whatever the organizations need me to do.  Then, we are traveling to Cox’s Bazar to provide aid and assistance in the refugee camps.  

I am working to bring awareness to this horrific event and the bigger problem of human trafficking and thought others would appreciate the opportunity to support these refugees in a very direct way. 100% of the funds donated would go straight to the refugees. There will be no overhead costs, no middle man, and no organization taking a cut. All funds raised will go directly to the refugees in need. We are providing all of our own travel costs and related expenses.

Determined to help out, Cassidy was able to raise over $12,000 in donations that went toward alleviating the humanitarian crisis.

Below is an excerpt from Cassidy’s blog about her volunteer experience:

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Demonstrating Knowledge: Rise To the Challenge in Grade 7

Rise To the Challenge is the intensive for our Grade 7 students Intensives are a concentrated period of study where an entire grade is working on a project or projects, with profound research and preparation, followed by a public event. These intensives are designed with Hamlin’s mission in mind, as our students meet the challenges of their time.

Grade 7 students have the opportunity to choose their own topics, do in-depth research, then share their findings, providing short and long-term solutions to various problems.

This year’s topics were: Technology and Well-being, LBGTQ+ Rights, Oceans and Plastics, Oceans and Overfishing, Cancer Prevention, Digital Privacy and Cybersecurity, Gun Violence and School Shootings, Stress Prevention, Post-Antibiotic Era, Mass Incarceration of People of Color, Access to Education for Rohingya Girls in Bangladesh.

Many teams used technology to generate awareness, including: videos, websites, blogs, Twitter, Change.org, and Instagram. One group made their own “zero waste” whipped lotion, mascara, toothpaste, and deodorant. Another group made wooden shark earrings to raise awareness about the unethical fishing for shark fins.

The Stress Prevention group explored meditation as a way to help solve their problem. In the video below students speak firsthand about stress and how meditation helps them.

Hamlin Student Visiting Refugee Camp in Bangladesh

A Grade 7 Hamlin student is visiting a refugee camp in Bangladesh this summer. Speaking to her classmates, Cassidy shared her passion to make a difference in another part of the world. Cassidy spoke about how child refugees often become victims of human trafficking, something she learned about in her Grade 6 social studies class.

The humanitarian crisis caused by escalating violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State is causing suffering on a catastrophic scale. As of 24 May, there are an estimated 905,000 refugees in Cox’s Bazar. Not only has the pace of arrivals since 25 August made this the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world, the concentration of refugees in Cox’s Bazar is now amongst the densest in the world. Refugees arriving in Bangladesh—mostly women and children—are traumatized, and some have arrived with injuries caused by gunshots, shrapnel, fire and landmines. –United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

There are 500,000 children in the refugee camp that she will visit. “Most of the kids are not being educated and many do not have parents, they are orphans who are simply assigned a family to live with.”

Cassidy will bring an altruistic presence and help younger children practice their English during her time at the refugee camp.

After her presentation Cassidy distributed paper for Hamlin students to make cards for the refugee children.

“We are showing the children that they are not alone in the world and that we care about them.”

For more information about the refugee crisis, please visit: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-29/pregnant-rohingya-refugees-facing-monsoon-see-donor-funds-dry-up

 

Hamlin Picks Up Litter In San Francisco

This Friday students in Grade 3 walked to Lafayette Park picking up trash along the way. Maia Kolbeck from the Aquarium of the Bay spoke to the girls beforehand about the importance of keeping our city litter free. She emphasized that San Francisco is surrounded by water on three sides and that trash on land often ends up in the Bay where it is ingested by fish and seals. Students filled multiple trash bags with everything from old party balloons, to glass bottles. Ms. Ray led this thoughtful environmental stewardship project.

Hamlin Visits Preschoolers in the Mission

On May 9, Hamlin Grade 8 students visited Holy Family Day Home in the Mission, a nonprofit organization that we have worked with for the past 14 years. The visit was led by our middle school Spanish department.

Holy Family Day Home’s goal is to provide affordable, high quality, early childhood education and family support services in a stable and nurturing environment, thereby providing the children of working families skills and hope for lifelong development.  

Hamlin students began the morning by singing the song Cada Semilla to the preschoolers and playing Simon Says, all in Spanish. Our students were then paired up with different children to read books. Our girls brought their very own self-created books written in Spanish with beautiful handmade illustrations. After sharing these fantastic stories, everyone went outside to play. The joy and energy between the younger and older students was palpable. One Hamlin student shared, “I loved how creative and caring they were, I got so many hugs.”

After playtime, Hamlin students heard more about program specifics from members of Holy Family Day Home’s leadership team. They learned about the food pantry that provides nourishment for families in need, and the emphasis placed on seamlessly integrating homeless and non-homeless students into classrooms.

Below is a video of our students singing:

To learn more about Holy Family Day Home, please visit: https://holyfamilydayhome.org/

Hamlin Attends San Francisco Youth Summit

On May 4, Hamlin joined eight other San Francisco schools at a Youth Summit focused on Awareness and Action. Hamlin Grade 7 students attended workshops and participated in the event. Our resident movie makers, Avery, Dani, Helena, and Allie led a workshop focused on their film, “Strawbucks.” The film interweaves detailed information connecting the use of plastic straws (in businesses like Starbucks), to the growing Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

The attending schools were: Town, Creative Arts Charter, Children’s Day, Millennium, Live Oak, San Francisco School, Cathedral, and San Francisco Friends. There were almost 300 people in attendance.

The summit was hosted by the San Francisco Friends School and addressed the following topics (among others) in 20-minute workshops led by students:

Homelessness, Gun Control, Sexual Harassment, Mass Incarceration, Human Trafficking, the Israel/Palestine Conflict, Plastics and the Environment

At the end of each workshop, presenters shared specific ways to take action: using social media, contacting government officials, and supporting boycotts.

The summit no doubt inspired our students as they begin to think about their upcoming Rise to the Challenge (RTC) projects.

To learn more about RTC, please visit: http://www.hamlinblog.org/blog/2017/06/12/leadership-in-action-symposium-rise-to-the-challenge/

Spoken word artists from Youth Speaks performed in the morning. At the end of their performance they invited students to take the stage to share their voices. Sophie M. stepped forward and performed her original song, “Nightingale.” Below is the recording.

Dr. Sylvia Earle Visits Hamlin For Earth Day

On April 27, the Hamlin School welcomed world-renowned marine biologist, Dr. Sylvia Earle.

Dr. Earle is an American marine biologist, explorer, author, and lecturer. She has been a National Geographic explorer-in-residence since 1998. Earle was the first female chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and was named by Time Magazine as its first Hero for the Planet in 1998. She is also part of the group Ocean Elders, which is dedicated to protecting the ocean and its wildlife.

Dr. Earle spoke for almost an hour to a room full of more than 400 students and parents. She made the following inspiring statements (among others):

-If anyone ever tells you can’t do something, ask why not?

-Every creature on earth is unique.

-We are the first generation to see the consequences of consuming the earth.

-The earth is all there is for the future of humankind and we have to take care of it.

-I was attracted to living things on this earth since the beginning of my memory.

-Get wet, get into the water of the earth, if I stay out of water too long dry rot sets in.

-I lived for two weeks underwater, having the ocean as a living laboratory.

-Women were not expected to dive, be scientists, or aquanauts.

-I can do what I can do to make a difference.

-Have the ocean be a part of your life.

Near the end of her speech, Dr. Earle spoke about Hope Spots.

Hope Spots are special places that are critical to the health of the ocean — Earth’s blue heart. Hope Spots are about recognizing, empowering and supporting individuals and communities around the world in their efforts to protect the ocean. Dr. Sylvia Earle introduced the concept in her 2009 TED talk and since then the idea has inspired millions across the planet. While about 12 percent of the land around the world is now under some form of protection (as national parks etc.), less than six percent of the ocean is protected in any way. Hope Spots allow us to plan for the future and look beyond current marine protected areas (MPAs), which are like national parks on land where exploitative uses like fishing and deep sea mining are restricted. Hope Spots are often areas that need new protection, but they can also be existing MPAs where more action is needed. 

In addition to Dr. Earle’s visit, Hamlin students also participated in the following Earth Day activities:

-Explored the ocean with virtual reality glasses

-Wrote letters to government officials urging them to reduce plastic usage

-Watched the play “Plastic is not Fantastic” (performed by students in grades 3 and 4)

-Created pledges to support the environment

-Played ocean charades

To learn more about Dr. Earle’s nonprofit, please visit https://mission-blue.org/

Below is a clip of Dr. Earle speaking:

 

Asenaida Escober Speaks with Students about Honduras

Hamlin parent Asenaida Escober, shared her love of Honduras with Grade 7 students in Spanish class today. Speaking only in Spanish, Ms. Escober showed photos and described the geography and natural beauty of her home country. She also talked about colonial architecture, regional artwork, and traditional Mayan festivals.

After her presentation, students asked Ms. Escober a series of questions that they had prepared in Spanish. The following are a few of those questions:

-Do you have a favorite food dish from Honduras?

-Can you describe your favorite tradition from Honduras?

-Which animals live in Honduras?

-Would you like to live in Honduras again?

At the end of the class Ms. Escober provided students with some snacks typically enjoyed in Honduras.

This firsthand learning experience provided a wonderful opportunity for our students to practice their Spanish in a “real life” context.