Community 101 is a classroom-based program through The Oregon Community Foundation that gives students the opportunity to get involved in their communities through grant making and volunteering. The ninth and tenth grade students at Cascades Academy began participating in the Community 101 program during the 2016-17 school year. It has been a welcome addition to the school's Service Learning program.
It's an innovative collaboration of schools, businesses and charitable organizations that gives students the tools to bring about positive change in their communities. Used by teachers throughout Oregon, C101 lends itself to instructional use in civic engagement, global literacy, critical thinking, public speaking, use of technology, and community involvement.
The Oregon Community Foundation and the Starview Foundation provided students with $2,500 to use as grant money for the nonprofit organizations of the students' choice. The goal as a class was to raise an additional $1,000 to grant to the nonprofit organizations.
For the 2017-18 school year, the students focused on nonprofit organizations within the community that support those with disabilities, specifically, Oregon Adaptive Sports and Abilitree. Oregon Adaptive Sports provides life-changing outdoor recreation experiences to individuals with disabilities. Participants gain confidence, build self-esteem, and strive for independence leading to an enhanced quality of life. Abilitree’s mission is to empower people to grow their independence, expectations, and inclusion in community life. They help provide people with disabilities support with job placement, skills training, peer support, advocacy, and information and referrals.
The Community 101 program has been a wonderful incentive for students to become catalysts for change within their community. According to Sydney, a ninth grade student,
"Since I was very young, I have loved spending time with my Uncle Peter. He is extremely fun, has a great personality and loves the horses. Unfortunately, my sister and I are one of my Uncles only friends. This is due to his cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a condition marked by impaired muscle coordination, causing my uncle to not be a coordinated as you and I may be and his speech is also impaired. It is difficult to watch as people ignore my uncle's presence just because of his condition. They never get to see what an amazing person he is. This is why are working to rally our community to support the incredible work these organizations do to support our community members with physical and mental disabilities. Our ask is small, every penny counts."