(Image courtesy City Life/Vida Urbana)
Seventh- and eighth-grade students from a Dorchester charter school recently took to the streets in New York City to protest foreclosures and evictions, targeting the mortgage agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Nearly 50 students from the Smith Leadership Academy, along members of City Life/Vida Urbana, a Jamaica Plain housing-rights activist group, marched with families that believe they have been negatively affected by the mortgage companies' polices, said a release from City Life/Vida Urbana.
While the protest and the topic was close to the hearts of many students, the academy saw it as a teaching opportunity for its pupils.
Classroom lessons were designed to educate students on mortgages, the causes and effects of the housing bubble and how certain companies played a role in the foreclosure crisis.
“The students of Smith Leadership Academy asked all the right questions. They were intellectually curious and emotionally present,” Steve Meacham, the organizing director of City Life/Vida Urbana, said in a statement.
The school’s administration also saw the topic as an important lesson for students and an important part of the school’s mission.
“As part of our leadership program we teach students to be compassionate and to use community citizenship in service to others. In New York, our students had the opportunity to make our mission reach a ‘broader nation’," Karmala Sherwood, executive director of Smith Leadership Academy, said in a statement. “I am so proud of their sense of leadership and advocacy…these young people exemplify community citizenship for those struggling and looking for a solution to maintain and keep their homes.”