A classroom assignment turned into a real life learning experience in event planning and international issues when five Eisenhower students created Girl’s Night Up.
Eighth graders Alexa Brewster, Valerie Kologrivov, Kelly McCauley, Abby Shulman and Kaela Wong transformed the multi-purpose room at Eisenhower Middle School into a craft bazaar and art show to raise funds and awareness of Girl Up a non-profit United Nations Foundation charity.
The girls are enrolled in Lori Ebanietti’s WEL (Wyckoff Extended Learning) class. The assignment was to work with a charity that would not only benefit that organization but leave a legacy at Eisenhower School.
“This is a great example of authentic learning experience for our students” said Steve Raimo, principal at Eisenhower Middle School. From filling out building use forms and coordinating with district custodians to arranging vendors and soliciting community support the girls were required to create and organize an event without parental involvement. “We had to plan every aspect from working with teachers and other adults to the publicity to get people to attend,” said Girl’s Night Up creator Abby Shulman.
The students worked with Eisenhower art teacher Monique Sarfity to coordinate a district art show. Artwork from students in grades 4-8 were displayed in a gallery setting. “The girls decided an art show would encourage participants to attend the event and increase traffic.” said Sarfity.
Among the booths, attendees could have their hair braided, order memory quilts and purchase jewelry and clothing . Best friends Julia Hosmer and Devin Thompson “enjoyed the art show” and also purchased hand drawn bleach designed shirts. “It’s a great evening to share with your daughter and help a worthy cause,” said mother Barbara Hosmer.
The girls produced a short video that educated visitors about the Girl Up campaign and how their support can change the life of girls worldwide. “I like the idea that this is a student led project that also exposes these girls to an international charity organization,” said parent Caryn Kasmanoff. Kasmanoff attended the event with her fourth grade daughter Anna. “I wanted her to see how women or in this case girls can be empowered to make a difference in the world.” she added.
Girl Up gives American girls the opportunity to channel their energy and compassion to raise awareness and funds for programs of the United Nations that help some of the world’s hardest-to-reach adolescent girls. Nationally recognized actresses, entrepreneurs, athlete and doctors work as Girl Up Champions to empower adolescent girls around the globe. They include Ivanka Trump, Rebecca Soni, Judy McGrath, Nigel Barker, Alana Beard.
The Girl’s Night Up event and previous bake sales raised $2,000 for the Girl Up charity according to Cindy Loo-Wong, parent of organizer Kaela. “All the effort and time that was put into this event to make it a success was because they cared from the bottom of their heart – they don’t receive a grade for it,” said Loo-Wong.
For information about the United Nations Foundation Girl Up initiative visit www.GirlUp.org.