Community Outreach Project
I was able to work with a small group of seniors at Cody High, a Detroit public school, to design a campaign that attempted to engage their fellow students in the upcoming election. After discussing with this group the factors that might deter them from voting, it became apparent that, as first time voters, one of their largest concerns was being prepared when it came time to hit the polls. Together, we screen-printed on school uniforms and created informational brochures that addressed the practicalities of voting: the where, when, and how. Worn by the group on the day before the election, the t-shirts enabled them to act as facilitators in starting a larger discussion within the student body. The brochures were there to accompany that discussion by addressing the logistics of the voting process. In this way, a handful of the students and I were able to increase involvement on Election Day by, hopefully, helping to make Cody High seniors more prepared and more willing to vote.
Response from Charlotte Smith, Cody High School faculty member:
The students were extremely interested in the voting process but very apprehensive, with it being their first time. I believe that the brochures and t-shirts opened up opportunities for conversation between those who were unaware of the process and those students involved with the project. The students were very excited to wear the shirts (and have been doing so, even after the election) and were proud to be able to converse with their fellow students about the voting process and were actively handing out brochures to their classmates. Many students who were not involved in the project expressed an appreciation for the brochures and the opportunity to learn more (even those who were not quite voting age, yet). Many teachers and students expressed a desire to secure a t-shirt, which allowed for more in-depth conversation about why the students were wearing them. Overall, it was a unique idea, which allowed for questions and answers and alleviated many fears about the voting process. The work that went into this project exceeded expectations and was a huge success (many non-senior students expressed a desire to replicate the process next year, even though it's not a presidential election year).
Response from Michelle Parker, Cody High School principal:
The voting campaign went well at MCH. It brought awareness and the expectation of exercising your civic right/duty. The t-shirts (great color) were a great reminder for students and adults to vote. The students were energetic to pass out the pamphlets and several students indicated that they voted for the first time on election day. Many of them felt empowered because the candidates they voted for won. Job well done.
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