|Mayfield Junior School of the Holy Child Jesus|
Lisa Byrne, Eighth Grade Advisor
“The mind can produce answers and ideas while the heart yields goodness and love. At Mayfield Junior School we seek to bring these things together for each and every one of our students.” Joseph J. Gill, Headmaster
Service and giving are a part of our school’s fabric; they are essential to our identity and an expression of our faith in action. Whether it is bringing food or gifts to families in need during the holidays, creating awareness for shelter animals or promoting conservation through recycling initiatives, this commitment to outreach and service provides students with multiple opportunities to empathize, take action, and develop a sense of global responsibility.
This year our eighth graders have expanded upon a long-standing relationship with Good Shepherd Shelter.
Good Shepherd Shelter is a temporary shelter in downtown Los Angeles for women and children who are fleeing from domestic violence. In addition to our annual Adopt-a-Family program at Christmas, a small group of eighth graders travel to the shelter every other week to teach PE to the children who live there. Their personal experience interacting with the residents has inspired a special project focused on extra support for the children at the shelter.
In 8th grade technology enrichment class, students are developing software applications (apps) with this goal in mind. The class has done research on the issues facing the women and children who live there and completed a design thinking protocol to determine the best way to help. For example, many of the children at the shelter feel isolated because they cannot leave the shelter, so one of the apps in development, "Chatting Children," allows them to open a private chatroom where only kids in similar situations are able to join and then they can privately discuss issues that are important to them. Other ideas in development include apps to help clients find appropriate and safe jobs and housing when they leave the shelter, connect with donors from the MJS community to help them get the general supplies they need, and chat with kids from Mayfield before and after a visit.
So far, students have created Keynote prototypes of the apps, and have had them beta-tested by peers. Once every student has had a chance to go through the process and made revisions based on feedback from students, teachers, and professional mentors, we hope to present our best app designs to Good Shepherd Shelter. As teachers, it is our hope that we can not only help our friends at GSS to have an easier transition into a new, peaceful life, but that we may also teach our students that when they combine their compassion with their skills and talents, they can really change the world!