By ANYSSA BOHANAN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
“The moment I saw that it was helping out the community, and volunteering, and helping out nonprofits, I knew I had to join.”
Uriel Nejia is a freshman in the Community 101 class at Redmond Proficiency Academy.
He and other students in the class are learning about nonprofits, community engagement and social issues in Central Oregon.
“It gives kids an opportunity to get out and see that the world is bigger than just themselves,” said RPA teacher Tamara Bremont.
The class was given $5,000 by the Oregon Community Foundation to grant to a local nonprofit of their choice.
The nonprofit will fit under one of the issues the class chose to support – mental health, suicide, substance abuse and child abuse.
“I wanted to support mental health, especially suicide because I knew it was an important topic in our area,” Uriel said.
This is the first time the class has been offered at the school since 2014.
To make the class happen, Bremont had to apply for the class with school administrators and wait for funders to back the program’s grant.
When she worked with the class in the past, she says the most talked about social issue was domestic abuse.
This year, when the class surveyed students about social issues important to them, she found a consistent theme.
“Overwhelmingly, mental health was the top.” Bremont said.
“I think a lot of kids struggle with that, so I think it’s important to a lot of kids,” said freshman Mary Jane Bundy.
Students will visit local nonprofits and will invite them to apply for the grant. Then they’ll review grant applications and pick the nonprofit that fits their mission statement closest.
The students will help a local nonprofit while learning the importance of volunteering for life.
“I’ve even talked to my mom,” Mary Jane said. “Like, we need to volunteer more.”