Noble Street College Prep Day of Service
Over one hundred students and faculty of Noble Street College Prep gathered at FarmWorks in East Garfield Park on October 25 to participate in a Day of Service. Students who attend any Noble Network Charter School are required to complete 40 hours of community service before they can graduate. FarmWorks is a 2.6 acre urban farm in the city created by Heartland Human Care Services (HHCS) in partnership with the City of Chicago, NeighborSpace, and the Greater Chicago Food Depository. The goal of FarmWorks is to distribute local produce of the highest quality to those who need it most, and support people overcoming multiple barriers to employment to secure full-time, permanent, viable jobs.
My Block, My Hood, My City brought FarmWorks and Noble Street College Prep together for the Day of Service. Codi Tranel, COO at My Block, My Hood, My City, said, “We collaborate with schools to see how we can bring those students out to a new neighborhood, to see more of Chicago. We are all about exposure and interconnectivity, so exposing kids to a new community, new foods and new activities, but also to give back.”
Nina Gonzalez, a parent of two Noble Street students helped chaperone the event, added, “We’re helping harvest local foods that are going to be used locally, that were grown in a sustainable way, and they are going to impact the families in the neighborhood.” Gonzalez was working to gather sweet potatoes alongside the students. “I think the kids really enjoy getting their hands dirty and understanding the relativity of farming, food, local jobs, and so it’s exciting for them.”
In addition to harvesting crops, students also moved compost and soil to cover other plants in preparation for the winter. Ammad Hyland, a freshman at Noble Street didn’t mind the work, “The requirement that we have these community service hours helps us build ourselves while also helping others in a special way.” He continued, “This is our home, we need to take care of it.”
Another freshman, Celeste Pedroza, shared Hyland’s excitement, “I feel like Noble is a great community and I think this is a great project for our school, because it shows who we are. The teachers themselves always tell us to respect our communities, go out and do [helpful] things – just to make our world a better place.” The Noble Network of Charter Schools values student involvement in Chicago communities and provides exceptional opportunities for students to do just that.
Pedroza had a lot of pride in her school for the work they were doing, “This is a really fun thing. I just want to give a shout out to my school and my peers today because this is a wonderful thing to do.”
Author’s Note: Natasha Cavitt is the Dean of Campus Outreach and Athletic Director at Noble Street College Prep. Natasha is a liaison between the community and campus. Ms. Cavitt is the athletic director and ensures that Noble Street athletes have a safe, fun, and valuable experience. She teaches a Public Speaking class in which students are introduced to public speaking as an important component of their everyday lives.