Dialogue initiated by the Conversation Toward a Brighter Future project has united Collinsville High School students and faculty for a mutual cause: having water bottle filling stations installed at CHS.
Conversation Toward a Brighter Future is a program sponsored by Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities Foundation (MJCHF) to bring young people in the Madison County area together to promote understanding and collaboration.
The CHS Conversation Toward a Brighter Future group is using the water bottle filling station project as a way to put aside differences in the school community and work together toward a common goal. “Change for Change” came about to bring CHS clubs, students and staff together for something that will benefit everyone.
“Change for Change fits into Conversation Toward a Brighter future because this was an ongoing discussion that students were having with their peers and teachers in wanting new water fountains, places to fill water bottles and use less plastic,” says Rachel Gattuso, CHS/CAVC teacher and Conversation for a Brighter Future co-advisor.
“This was a change that the students and staff wanted. Our Conversation Toward a Brighter Future group heard and understood everyone’s voices in wanting change and took action,” she says, “It is important that school staff and students’ ideas be heard especially if it is a project that will benefit everyone presently and in the future.”
MJCHF’s four pillars – Respect, Dignity, Understanding and Forgiveness – are the platform for Conversation Toward a Brighter Future initiatives. Middle and high school students are “encouraged to think outside their comfort zones and consider how we must treat each other if we are to exist as a thriving society.”
Gattuso, who is spearheading the project along with fellow teacher and co-advisor Alicia Furlow, says “Change for Change” fits under the pillar of understanding — encouraging everyone at CHS to be considerate and thoughtful. All of the clubs/activities at CHS were asked to support the project by donating $20 toward the goal of purchasing four $600 water bottle filling stations for the school.
“Since the start of the project, the responses from students and teachers have been amazing and ongoing support is growing for this goal to be successful,” says Gattuso. She shared a few example of responses from CHS clubs:
“What a great idea! Key Club would be more than happy to make a $20 donation!”
“DECA IS IN!!! I have been wanting these for years!!!”
“Sign Language Club and Skills USA will both donate! Thanks for getting it all together!”
“If everyone who offered to donate follows through, we will have enough to cover three filtered water bottle filling fountains,” according to Gattuso, “We are still in need of donations for one more filtered water bottle filling station but would love to acquire even more.”
To make a donation to CHS “Change for Change,” send a check payable to “Collinsville High School Mannie Jackson Foundation” to:
CHS “Change for Change” Project
c/o Rachel Gattuso
Collinsville High School
2201 S. Morrison
Collinsville, IL 62234
For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.