In 2010-2011, the grant focused on three areas: Reducing Junk Mail, Recycling, and Hazardous Waste Reduction. The students conducted research, revised their skit, created a PowerPoint presentation, made buttons, created a huge bulletin board, designed t-shirts for the presenters to wear, and prepared a presentation. They made several presentations to different groups at the Westwood Church including the Westwood Wheelers, a group of 15 adults from the Westwood Church, employees such as the ministers and staff, and the congregation at a Spotlight Sunday. They then made presentations to their peers, students enrolled in the Carver-Scott Educational Cooperative but who are located elsewhere, and to other community groups.
They learned a great deal through the research they conducted regarding recycling, but had limited results in demonstrating real change in behavior. They experiemented with technology and hoped to collect results via computer surveys in an effort to reduce the amount of paper used in their program. They participated in various community projects to provide service to demonstrate their commitment to the environment.
In 2005-2006, this project provided an opportunity for disenfranchised youth to become educators and make a difference in the wider community. The “New Beginnings” program in this school district is a special program for pregnant and parenting teens. Ten young women spearheaded the “Dunk the Junk” project, focused on junk mail reduction. They learned about waste issues and junk mail in particular, created t-shirts, buttons, a game, a skit, and a video to educate others. At the “Taste of Chaska,” they shared information about junk mail with over 500 people and were featured on WCCO 4 TV news that evening. Other presentations included a school board meeting, a national youth service conference, meeting weekly with senior citizens, and sharing information with other high school students. In total, 595 junk mail postcards were completed and mailed in. The “Dunk the Junk” junk mail skit and video will continue to be shown by the New Beginnings program.