For years, middle school students from the afterschool programs at St. Martin de Porres in North Philadelphia and DePaul School in Germantown have feuded due to slight differences in socio-economic status. In an effort to bring these youth together in hopes of mending this relationship, the Cyber Cadets Summer Workshop is an anti-bullying, community-building campaign developed and led by the youth who will participate in the program. Over the course of six summer weeks, forty children from 12 to 14 years of age in both of these afterschool programs will work online collaboratively to fight against cyber bullying in their schools. Participants in the Cyber Cadets Summer Workshop will be given student leadership opportunities as they design print materials, web content, and social media components that send an anti-bullying message. In addition, participants from both schools will join together for social activities that focus around team-building activities where youth are able to put anti-bullying efforts into real world practice.
The intention of the Cyber Cadets Summer Workshop is to build a core group of middle school kids who will be devoted to spreading an anti-cyber bullying message to younger students and their peers in an effort to cause change within their communities. This process begins with first educating students in internet safety and then helping them develop strategies for combating cyber dangers, specifically in the area of cyber bullying which is a very realistic threat for many middle school students. Over the course of eight weeks, the Cyber Cadets Summer Workshop will guide middle school kids from two feuding afterschool programs through the phases of identifying the dangers of cyber-bullying, developing an anti-cyber bullying campaign, and becoming empowered to lead their schools and other afterschool programs in this anti-bullying effort; thus unifying these kids in a collaborative, community project.
In the formative weeks of this campaign, kids will vote on student-created logos and slogans that will be the crux of their anti-cyber bullying campaign. This logo and slogan will be present on all campaign materials and club t-shirts that the kids will receive. Communications between the sites will occur through Skype, www.linoit.com and KidBlog.org while kids from both afterschool sites will collaborate online in real-time using Google Docs, www.vistaprint.com, and www.wix.com to create campaign materials. In addition to the design of print materials, a website, and a social media page, kids will also develop an anti-cyber bullying Public Service Announcement video to post on the website.
Along with online collaboration, kids will be challenged to put anti-bullying efforts into real world practice at events where they will interact face-to-face. These events include a “Meet and Greet” Barbecue, a trip to iPlay America, a Scavenger Hunt, and a Dance. In an effort to spread the anti-cyber bullying campaign, kids will wear their club t-shirts to these various events. All of these online collaborations and events will be monitored by group leaders and the Assistant Directors of each afterschool site. Also, parents will be made aware of the program and they must sign permission slips in order for their children to use these collaborative media tools.
As the culminating event for the Cyber Cadets Summer Workshop, all kid-participants will plan and facilitate mini-assemblies to be delivered to the younger students at their afterschool sites; thus offering these middle school students an opportunity to be leaders in their communities. In addition, in order to keep the anti-bullying message fresh and help it spread, kid-participants will also plan and facilitate assemblies in September to be delivered at their respective schools and afterschool programs.