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Wooster Today - November 2016

Social Awareness Makes Impact On Students

By Brooke Thaler, Publications Teacher, and Marie Klepacz '17

The Center for Social Impact (CSI) is still fairly new to Wooster School's community; Wooster established the Center for Social Impact to help our students engage in social actions that will positively impact the world around them.

In order to bring awareness to the Center, David Newman, the Assistant Head of School and Director of the CSI, proposed the idea of hosting Wooster's first annual "Social Impact Summit." The summit took place on Wednesday, October 19, and was designed to inspire middle and upper school students, "to further the conversation with the entire Wooster community as to the myriad ways we may, and why we should, affect positive change in the world."

The Social Impact organization, a group of high school students with a passion for service learning, helped organize a group of seven speakers who are involved in nonprofit work. The speakers had a variety of experience, and enlightened the school on what helping making a difference really means. Each grade broke out into a learning group with one of our designated speakers, and examined a case study that focused on a specific social issue. The groups broke the issues down, discussed them, and looked for short- and long-term solutions, which aligned with the purpose of the day -- "for students to better understand how to identify important issues through a hierarchy of urgency exercise, engage in collaborative problem solving, propose change, and reflect on their own thinking."

In another example of Wooster's commitment to social impact, a new leadership position for seniors was created this year: Social Impact Prefect. Marie Klepacz currently holds that title, and her responsibilities include organizing events, assisting in finding ways to connect with different nonprofits and speakers, and raising money for the Social Impact Fund, a fund that allows students and faculties access to different service projects and ideas.

As the CSI looks to expand its reach and connection to the world around us, students involved in the center are embracing the opportunities it provides.

"I want to have an impact on my community, both locally and globally," said Josie Morales-Thomason, '17, who was one of the Wooster CSI students that traveled to the Rashmi School in Nepal this summer. "I think it's really cool that students have the ability to manage where the money from the Impact Fund goes, and that we get hands on experience. It's a unique opportunity, and it's a good addition to our school. It's also a valuable thing to be a part of when applying to colleges."

Should you have an interest in learning more or furthering the mission of the Center for Social Impact, please reach out to David Newman, david.newman@woosterschool.org, or visit the Center for Social Impact website.

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