CORNWALL BRIDGE — The Civic Life Project, which has successfully developed civic engagement, cross-cultural understanding and social responsibility among high school students since 2010, has received a grant of $6,000 from The Buchanan Fund, a fund of the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation, to adapt and expand its existing program for middle schools.
The grant, announced recently by Dominique Lasseur, co-founder of the Civic Life Project with Catherine Tatge, will enable Civic Life to help 8th graders from Cornwall Consolidated and Sharon Center schools explore and produce short civic-themed ﬁlms on public issues of their choice.
“Region 1 administrators asked us to adapt the proven Civic Life high school curriculum to the particular needs of middle school students, and we are pleased to be able to do so, thanks to the generous support of the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation,” said Lasseur, “With the input of participating teachers and students, we hope to create an effective program for younger students that then may be shared with a larger group of schools. “
Under this program, during the 2019 winter/spring semesters, students will be mentored by media professionals in the production of short documentary ﬁlms about community issues. The learning process will include researching issues, interviewing pertinent individuals and scripting the ﬁlms.
Students can sharpen their presentation skills when they showcase and answer questions about their ﬁlms at school and community events. Among those issues, Cornwall students will explore are gun control, homeless veterans, and the Region 1 education budget.
Sharon students will explore the kneeling controversy arising following a recent selectman’s meeting, gun control, and whether the school dress code is sexist. Each school will screen the resulting documentaries and facilitate discussions.
Producing these films enable students to connect with their community, as well as build a new understanding of, engagement with and appreciation for, what it means to be an American and live in a democracy, according to a release.
Since its founding in 2010, the Civic Life project has served hundreds of ethnically and economically diverse high school students in Region One, Torrington and across the state. This grant from the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation allows the program to be brought to younger students throughout Northwest Connecticut. Learn more at www.civiclifeproject.org.