Teacher Joe Baer talks with 8th grade students enrolled in Wheeler School's
Cityside Program (Pre-Covid photo)

That's right, now we're in middle school - at the Wheeler School in Providence to be exact! We've been working all semester with teacher Joe Baer, Director of the  Cityside Program, a special year-long class at Wheeler that all 8th graders take part in, where students collaborate with local nonprofits and other stakeholders to produce projects designed to promote positive change in Rhode Island. Working off-campus, students form groups of 3 or 4 and decide together on an area of interest to focus on. The groups then reach out to organizations or individuals working in that area who can help them learn more and develop projects that meet a real need. This semester, two groups decided to focus on supporting local refugees and after learning about Beautiful Day through their research, couldn’t pass up the opportunity to contact us. 

Both groups interviewed Rebecca, asking thoughtful questions about Beautiful Day's adult and youth job training programs and the trainees we serve. Then both groups produced podcasts where they discuss the crisis of human displacement and how Beautiful Day is addressing the problem. They plan to post their podcasts to their own social networks and on Wheeler School's social media. We'll be posting them on ours as well.


Students at Wheeler's Cityside Program prepare to record their podcast
about Beautiful Day


Before this project, none of the students knew much about refugees or about the organizations in Rhode Island dedicated to helping them succeed. Elena wrote, "When working with Beautiful Day, I learned very valuable and eye-opening information about refugees. It was fantastic to see that there are so many people who care about the refugee community."

And students came away from the project pleased that their work can have a real impact. Jacob wrote, "It is so cool that we get to show our podcasts to people because it will contribute to the effort of helping refugees." 

These types of responses are just what Cityside Director Joe Baer wants to see. He says, "Our collaboration with Beautiful Day exemplifies civic action at its best, giving our kids meaningful agency and impactful voice." We're happy that Beautiful Day can help promote greater awareness of refugees in young people and foster students' growing desire to make a difference in their communities.

To hear the groups' podcasts (they're short!) click below:

Group 1 Podcast

Group 2 Podcast

Written by Rebecca Garland

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