CitySquare project wins Design for Change awardPosted June 20, 2014
Four ACU students living at CitySquare in Dallas teamed up with a group of fifth-graders to improve their south Dallas neighborhood and in the process helped the school win a national Design for Change award.
Design for Change is a global organization whose mission is to empower children to express their own ideas for a better world and put them into action through a project-based learning system.
The fifth-graders at Charles Rice Learning Center decided to take on the problem of “trap” houses or drug houses in their neighborhood. The project involved working with local law enforcement officers, city officials and officers of the Federal Bureau Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms to find ways to shut the “trap” houses down.
The project is one of two national winners selected to represent the United States at the 2014 Be the Change Conference. In September, five of the 26 Charles Rice students and their ACU mentors will travel to Ahmedabad, India, for the conference.
The ACU students – Bethany Richardson, Molly Clemans, Alan Songer and Nicole Ramos – are part of the university's justice and urban studies program. Students in the program spend their sophomore year living and studying at CitySquare, a nonprofit organization that aims to fight the causes of poverty in Dallas by offering food, medicine, housing and counseling to those in need.
In all, the ACU group worked with 218 Dallas students, including those at the Charles Rice Center, to complete 13 different projects targeted at making the neighborhoods better places to live.
“We are proud of the work being done in south Dallas,” said Dr. Michael Harbour, executive administrative director of ACU’s Honors College, which oversees the justice and urban studies team. “These elementary students have great ideas and great courage. They believe in their ability to change their own neighborhood and their own community. Their voice is being heard nationally and around the world.”
ACU’s partnership with CitySquare allows its students to work directly with Dallas residents learning skills valuable to their degrees.
“All nine of our justice and urban studies team members have had a great and transformative year in Dallas,” Harbour said.