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For the past two years, students at NYC Outward Bound Schools  teamed up with nonprofits around the city to conduct community service projects for Better World Day, a national initiative started by EL Education. This year, the effort looks a bit different — service projects have shifted online due to COVID-19 — but with no less enthusiasm among students!

Students at Brooklyn Collaborative, Leaders, Launch, WHEELS, West End Secondary, Channel View and MELS are taking part in this year’s “Better World Connections” by creating videos, paintings, sidewalk chalk creations, letters, and cards of appreciation for those who are demonstrating courage and kindness in this difficult time — first responders, essential workers, social service providers, teachers and more. Though Better World Connections has taken place over the past month, the effort is culminating on Friday, May 1 — which is traditionally Better World Day — with posts on social media using #BetterWorldDay and special virtual events, including a 4 p.m. Community Closing Circle hosted by Ron Berger, EL Education’s Chief Academic Officer, and featuring one of Launch’s Better World Day “Kid Captains,” Umeiko McFarlane, an 8th grader. Register for the event here.

Better World Day Highlights from Across the Network include:

The Launch community is creating awards for staff members at The Campaign Against Hunger (TCAH), a longtime partner of Launch. TCAH has always supported food insecure families, and they have taken their support to the next level during this pandemic by providing 50,000 nutritious meals to hungry New Yorkers each day.  

The Launch awards will be creative pieces of art (visual art, dance, poetry) demonstrating how TCAH is supporting tens of thousands food insecure New Yorkers each day. They are hosting a virtual award ceremony on Google Hangout and creating a video of the awards to play for TCAH staff. 

Watch a video featuring Zahara, a student at Launch, and students from across the country.

On Friday, 1st graders at WHEELS will be sharing poems they’ve written and dedicating those poems to heroes in the Washington Heights community. Donations received will go toward buying lunch for local essential workers.

MELS has spearheaded a letter-writing and video campaign called “Cards for Heroes.” They are showing appreciation for the tenacity of doctors, nurses, EMTs and transport staff at nearby Elmhurst Hospital by creating handwritten letters or digital thanks.

At Leaders High School, in lieu of spring break, students and staff participated in a week of connections and initiatives. Students wrote or recorded thank you’s to people they appreciate during this time.

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