July 19, 2012
Upward Bound at SKC is more than a summer program for teens
By Lailani Upham
SKC Upward Bound student, Lisa Cox, a sophomore at Charlo High School calls on younger students while they mold homemade play-doh, to answer questions at the Ronan Boys and Girls Club regarding a “Drug Safety” lesson. (Lailani Upham photo)
RONAN — Last week Upward Bound students at Salish Kootenai College joined in several service learning projects throughout the Flathead Reservation.
The Upward Bound program is a federally funded college prep program for low-income and first-generation high school students seeking a college degree.
“The goal of Upward Bound is to provide students with skills and motivation necessary for college success and completion,” stated Jennifer Wilson, SKC Upward Bound Summer Team Leader.
The SKC Upward Bound program is currently serving 84 students on the Flathead Reservation from the Arlee, Charlo, Hot Springs, Polson, Ronan, St. Ignatius and Two Eagle River Schools’ school districts.
The program has kept the students on the go with a number of service projects in Glacier Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness, working on a Native Plant Restoration project through the Glacier National Park stewardship program; and working to build and repair trails in the Hungry Horse area under the supervision of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation.
According to Wilson, last week’s focus was on community service projects from Black Lake clean up near Elmo to cleaning up and prepping the building at the Jocko Valley Library in Arlee.
Students not only spiffed up the in and outdoors but mentored younger students through reading programs at libraries and teaching and playing with kids at the Boys and Girls Club in Ronan.
“Upward Bound Students facilitated activities for kids aimed at stressing the importance of not using drugs,” explained Wilson.
Lisa Cox, Charlo High School sophomore said she quickly found out it was a challenge to explain to the little ones on their level the importance of not using drugs. However, Cox did add she believed the young students received the message.
“A big job is always easier when everybody does a small part,” says Cox, regarding the lesson learned from the projects the team have been involved in.
Polson High School student, Cassidy Schultz, shared that the pay-off for her community service is seeing the reaction from the people. Schultz also added that the communication with younger students took some forethought in how they will understand what the message is – “Why drugs are really bad.”
Schultz added that the project has helped her act on patience.
Ronan High School junior, Tucker Courville said the projects have helped him how to work and relate to others besides his own family.”
Nearly $249 million was allocated to 775 regular Upward Bound programs nationwide for the 2011 fiscal year, according to the federal education department. That number is down from the previous year of $257 million for 777 program awards.
The Upward Bound program goal is to strive to create self-actualized learners that realize education is the key to social change, and learning extends beyond the limits of classroom.
Sophie Mitchell, Polson High School student said through her experience thus far in the summer community service activities that “patience” was key.
“I’ve learned you have to be patient. It is a virtue to have. If you don’t have it, you won’t do well.”