As part of their year-long study of Ancient Greece, the Junior Unit's 4th and 5th graders are considering the question, What is a hero? To help students learn what makes an individual – or an organization – heroic, several guests have been invited to speak to them about their work. As our speakers presented, it was clear that it was the individuals or organizations they serve that they deem to be heroic rather than themselves.
Our first guest was Catherine Carr, until recently the executive director of Community Legal Services, whose work has centered on public benefits case litigation, including access to welfare, Social Security, and Medicaid benefits.
Guests Michelle and Patrick McKenna have been long-time volunteers at the Hole in the Wall Gang, a camp for children with life-threatening illnesses. They talked about the camp, whose goal is for every child with a serious medical condition to have the chance to experience the world of possibilities that camp has to offer.
School nurse Sara Forgione spoke her work with the Poor People’s Economic Rights Campaign and the Kensington Welfare Rights Union, grass-roots organizations devoted to abolishing poverty. Andrew McKnight, the founding executive director of Challenge Campaign, talked about how this program offers vocational training for Delaware’s at-risk youth.
This week's three guests included civil rights attorney Molly Tack-Hooper, a staff attorney at the ACLU of Pennsylvania, who talked about a transgender student who challenged gender inequality at his high school and about two middle school students who challenged their middle school's ban on bracelets designed to promote breast cancer awareness among young people.
Peter Gonzales "welcomes heroes every day" at the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians. Peter is President and CEO of the Welcoming Center, where he and his teams work with immigrants and new citizens who are establishing themselves and their families in the Philadelphia region.
David Hudson, known to us all at TPS as a member of our facilities crew, spoke about his counseling and training programs as senior pastor of Restore Your Heart Ministries. Most importantly, David spoke about everyone's inner hero – how each of us, no matter how young or old, can take action to help others. And, in his mind, "that is what truly defines a person as a hero."
(Photos from left to right: David Hudson - with and without cape! - Molly Tack-Hooper, and Peter Gonzales)