There are similarities in children and adolescents all over the world who are in crisis, whether they are youth at-risk in the United States as a result of domestic violence, poverty, drug abuse, or for academic reasons, or if they are youth at-risk in countries that are at-risk, for example, because of horrific violence or issues of economic or environmental sustainability.
This class will meet regularly with students from the Quantum Leap alternative classroom at Mount Anthony Union High School in Bennington. Separately, and together, we will look at adolescence – moving from ‘telling your story’, to understanding adolescent developmental issues (including differences particular to boys or girls), to examining solutions and approaches that help young people navigate the world, to expanding the sense of connection to other communities.
There will be guest speakers from the faculty and community. Readings will include ‘A Mind at a Time’ (Mel Levine), ‘A Training Guide for Mentors’ (Jay Smink),as well as fiction and non-fiction dealing with adolescents coming of age. Films may include ‘Promises’, ‘Invisible Children’, and ‘Pass on the Gift’ (Heifer International Foundation).
Bennington College students will write several small reflection essays and one longer research paper, act as mentors to the Quantum Leap students, as well as participate in a small group collaboration with them to create a project that demonstrates sustainability practices in a country of the group’s choosing.