America is the most prosperous nation in the world, and still one in five young people are at risk of hunger. That is why at Sodexo we focus our community service efforts towards finding solutions for this crisis – and believe that young people can stand together with us in leading the way to a better tomorrow.
Through our partnership with Youth Service America (YSA), we are giving students and their teachers the tools to make a significant impact on childhood hunger. Between 2010 and 2013, YSA and Sodexo Foundation supported 39 classrooms and 4,000 students in an extended, semester-long service and learning initiative, addressing childhood hunger linked to classroom learning goals. According to independent evaluations, participating students showed significant gains in academic engagement and related measures of student achievement. Motivated by their passion to make a difference in their communities, students introduced a variety of effective anti-hunger service strategies – and at the same time, became significantly more involved in the learning process itself.
To grow our community of teachers and students working together to end childhood hunger, this week we are pleased to share “A Teacher’s Guide to Engaging a New Generation of Anti-Hunger Leaders.” Drawing on case studies, interviews with teachers and students, and evaluation outcomes, the guide shares effective practices, tips, and tools for introducing a hunger-focused service and learning program into the classroom.
So often, we hear from educators, community members, and even youth who want to make a difference in the fight against hunger, but they aren’t quite sure where to start. This resource presents an important new tool for educators and for school administrators, offering a proven framework through which to connect classroom learning with a very real community issue.
The potential for impact is significant. With kids taking the lead, thousands have been educated about hunger issues in their community, tens of thousands of dollars raised, tons of food collected and donated to those in need. Spurred on to action through their study of hunger’s challenges, students developed partnerships with food banks to increase access to nutritious food, convened community town halls and school-wide meetings to educate others.
One third-grade class in Austin, Texas, lobbied for the passage of school breakfast legislation, learning how government officials introduce and pass laws. The students, who dubbed themselves the Hunger Warriors, marched on the Texas State Capitol in support of school breakfasts, and were present in the Legislature when the Breakfast Bill passed.
Funded by Sodexo Foundation and developed in collaboration with YSA, “A Teacher’s Guide to Engaging a New Generation of Anti-Hunger Leaders” recounts this and other success stories. Read about the program’s impact on communities, teaching practices, academic learning and career readiness experiences. Then, put this guide into the hands of a teacher you know, with an invitation to involve students in a life-changing experience.
Steve Dunmore is president of Sodexo Education ‒ Schools, a Sodexo Foundation board member and on the Board of Trustees at Youth Service America.