News Detail

Design for Change 2016 Challenge

This is the second year in a row that LREI has been a finalist in this competition!

LREI Director of Learning & Innovation, Mark Silberberg, had the following to say:

Dear Students (and families),
It's amazing to think about the distance in learning and action that you have covered this year. On that note, I did want to follow up on our submission to the Design for Change 2016 Challenge. While we did not win, we were runners up and the judges acknowledged that the decision was a hard one. This is the second year in a row that LREI has been a finalist in this competition.
Design for Change USA Director Sanjli Gidwaney commented that, 
Turning 'CAN I?' into 'I CAN' is no small feat. The students of LREI continue to demonstrate that with passion, perseverance and empathy, young people can transform the world. We want to congratulate all the students and faculty from LREI, who participated in Design for Change USA 2016. Not only are you heroes for the communities you've served, you are now part of a global movement of young people around the world, who know that change is possible and they can drive it!
And from Design for Change Challenge 2016 judge Christian Long, 
The LREI students remind us that passion guided by purpose is the foundation of all important change, both as individuals and as larger communities coming together. Their authentic desire to discover what lies behind important social questions and their joyful leap into critical public actions on so many fronts is to be commended.
You can view the LREI 2016 video submission here and the 2015 submission here.
These selections affirm the value of The Social Justice Project, which is a cornerstone of the eighth grade humanities curriculum. Through the project students study those who have stood up for justice by becoming and being active citizens themselves.

Students embark on this project to better understand and take action on current social justice issues. This project connects them to individuals and organizations that are making a difference in the community and beyond. The eighth graders come to better understand the rewards and challenges of active citizenship and the need for all individuals to choose to participate. The culmination of the project is the annual spring Social Justice Teach-In when the eighth graders plan and run a set of workshops and assemblies for the rest of the middle school and the larger LREI community.  Thus begins what we hope is a life-long commitment to social justice.
In making connections between the history of social justice movements and direct action, humanities teacher Sarah Barlow comments that a driving idea behind the project is that,
we want our students to know that each citizen, in a democracy, has a responsibility to participate, and further, one person -- even a teenager -- can affect change. Rather than study about how to change the world, we go and do it, in our small way. And, the people with whom the students work care about their ideas and perspective; this astonishes teenagers. They learn that their voices and dedication are valued by people they seek to emulate.
And as humanities teacher Sara-Momii Roberts observes: 
Students find learning about the past more relevant when they are asked to connect the ideas to their lives through work in the real world. Students begin the project passionate but unpracticed in engaging their voices around social issues that matter to them, but by the end of the project, after they have worked in the field with dedicated professionals on some of the most important topics of our day, they have evolved into effective peer leaders who can speak truth to power.
Congratulations and well done eighth graders!
The Design for Change global movement was founded in 2009, by world renowned educator, Kiran Sethi. She started the movement with a conviction that if young people were empowered and made to feel that they could take matters into their hands, they would change the world for the better. Kiran relied heavily on her background as an Industrial Designer to pilot the very first design-thinking guide for young people across India.

This guide served as a means to introduce a simplified version of the design thinking process in the form of four simple steps: FEEL any problem that bothers you, IMAGINE a way to make it better, DO an act of change and SHARE your story of change with the world. She believed the Feel-Imagine-Do-Share framework, would help cultivate what’s called the I CAN mindset, a belief that young people are not helpless, that change is possible and they can drive it.

Today, the DFC movement can be felt worldwide from Australia, to Israel, to the United States of America. Design for Change has helped thousands of young people make positive change. They've built their skills, boosted their creativity, and discovered what they're truly capable of. And their ideas have impacted thousands of communities.