Summer Workshops: Developing Skills and Civic-Mindedness

One of the first sessions before the students and recent graduates became busy with summer jobs and other personal obligations 

The previous summer was an exceptionally long school break.  To help make summer more productive, we conducted journalism workshops for the volunteer journalists of our community newspaper, Manito’s Time.    We included a session on Voters' Education with a mock election since it was also the midterm elections season. Vote-buying is an embedded practice in our town so we thought of educating at least our volunteers.

The workshops were held once a week for almost 3 months.     All they needed to bring for the sessions were rice (uncooked) and P10 each for lunch.  (Can a workshop get any cheaper than that? :-) )

One of the main purposes of the workshops is to help prepare the new batch of editors, artists, and writers of their school paper, Campus Journey.  Most of our community newspaper's volunteers are also staffers of the community college school paper.  The editor-in-chief and the rest of her senior editors just graduated, and like them when they started, almost all of the staffers have little to no background in journalism.

The second purpose of the workshops is to help develop their sense of civic duty.  They can be involved in uplifting our rural community as young as they are.  They can be involved in local governance.  They can help in making local leaders accountable to the public.  They can help raise concerns of the community for basic local services like water, transportation, and electricity.  They don't need to become adults to become active contributors to development. 

Nerissa conducting Voters' Education with mock election

We need to find growth opportunities for our young people, especially in remote 4th class municipalities.  Most of the time, people in communities such as ours are only concerned with how they are going to survive or how they can help their families out of financial difficulties.  Most of the time they may also think they are so far from where the action is, and that they are helpless.  They cannot be active contributors so they leave it up to politicians or to more "able" citizens.  They do not realize that they can actually make a difference, regardless of their social status or level of education.   They must see that progress happens not when they stand as mere spectators but when they themselves help create forums for discussing matters such as the delivery of basic needs, accountability, and inclusive growth.

If we cannot find opportunities to develop our young minds and talents, or if existing opportunities are not enough, then we must CREATE them ourselves.  That is why we have workshops.  That is why we have a community newspaper.

What is a series of workshops without fun with  Sequence and Uno?

Keeping expenses low means cooking and cleaning up on your own

The joy of teaching comes when you see students enjoying the learning process.

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