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The Wellness Warriors

Friday, December 9, 2016

It feels like winter has finally arrived in the Philadelphia area, but that’s not stopping the Wellness Warriors Design Team at Bartram High School from dreaming of green…a green space, that is!  

The 9th grade students who make up the team have earned this month’s high school “team of the month” honors for their project exploring ways in which they might convert an unwelcoming outdoor space at their school into a collaborative green space that will benefit students, staff, and community members. 

The team meets during and after school to bring their many creative ideas to life, and they recently sat down with their volunteer mentor, Luke Van Meter, to find out how they could make their ideas more feasible to increase their chances of success.  Luke enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with the team and help them think about ways to consolidate their many ideas into a coherent design solution.  

The decision to focus on a green space came from empathizing with and listening to fellow students, who expressed interest in having a safe and beautiful space in which to gather and relax, and from learning that the surrounding neighborhood is interested in creating a similar space in partnership with Bartram’s Garden and the John Heinz Wildlife Refuge to celebrate the Southwest Philadelphia community.  The team is talking to these organizations and learning methods for creating green space, attracting birds and small wildlife, and accommodating different segments of the community.  A goal the team is working toward is creating a space that can host academic and cultural events. 

One of the things the team most enjoys about participating in DT Philly is the opportunity to create change in their school and neighborhood.  They also see the team building and social skills they are developing during their project as helping them prepare for job opportunities and further education. Their team teacher, Mr. Thomas, is excited that his students are starting their high school career with the positive experience of addressing a problem experienced by their peers.

Be sure to check back over the next few months to see where the Wellness Warriors take their ideas!