Northbrook eighth graders simulate city, volunteer work

Students went through the same steps as Reimagine Mendota as all are coming together to renovate Mendota

By Brandon LaChance, Reporter
Posted 6/5/24

MENDOTA – Over the last year, Mendota volunteers have been involved in the Heart & Soul Grant Program to help the City of Mendota renovate, build, create, and update.

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Northbrook eighth graders simulate city, volunteer work

Students went through the same steps as Reimagine Mendota as all are coming together to renovate Mendota

Posted

MENDOTA – Over the last year, Mendota volunteers have been involved in the Heart & Soul Grant Program to help the City of Mendota renovate, build, create, and update.

There were four phases with each including steps to help improve Mendota such as creating surveys for Mendota residents to give feedback of what they want to see in Mendota whether it was a change or improvement.

Mendota’s Heat & Soul Group co-directors Annie Short and Amy Brewer didn’t leave any stone unturned as they involved the youth as well as adults.

They partnered with Northbrook eighth grade social studies teacher, Sarah Gehant, to feature the process the adult volunteer group did as part of a class for the eighth-grade students to work through the same exact process.

“The Northbrook eighth graders have done a wonderful job of being part of the Reimagine Mendota effort,” Short said. “Not only have they helped us, but they ran a similar process to the Heart & Soul Grant Program the City of Mendota did in school through their class with Sarah Henkel. They developed surveys, developed questions, interviewed Northbrook students, separated the research and figured out how to use it for benefit, and formed focus groups.

“I thought it was interesting to see what the sixth and seventh graders were telling the eighth graders on the surveys. A few of them said they liked Mendota because they feel safe.”

Similar to the Heart & Soul Program, the Northbrook eighth graders thought of four different projects/events they could hold as an end to the process. The resolutions for the City of Mendota and Reimagine Mendota are projects to renovate, create for the city, while the student’s resolution was a reward for their hard work.

The options were a movie night, a kick ball game, a downtown youth event, or a student track meet.

During lunch, containers were put on a table for the students to vote for what they wanted. They had $4 (pretend) to spend, just like adults in the city have the tough choice of putting grant money, donations, and city funds into projects such as sidewalks, new business adventures, updating parks, and many more.

The students wanted to choose all of the events, like adults would like to finish all of the projects, but the winning option was the movie night.

The eighth graders viewed trailers to pick the movie played in Northbrook’s gymnasium on May 24. They chose Annie from 2014.

The Northbrook students then ran the movie night by selling slices of pizza, distributing glow sticks, handing out popcorn, and hosting 200-plus kids.

Through the process, the Northbrook eighth-grade students had fun and they learned. Here is what a few of them said about being community volunteers:

Alexis Nave

“I liked that it showed how much people in the community work to make our community better. They do it for us. It was really funny doing research on our community and how much funding we need to do some of the things we want done in Mendota.

“A lot of the people we talked to want more sports activities and better playgrounds. There was a lot of focus on physical activity.”

Trinitie Thompson

“I really liked the fact that we got to give back to our community. I got to interview a lot of people and it was nice to make connections. The best part was giving back to the people who give back to us.”

Olivia Corrigan

“We learned a lot from other people and what they thought was best for Mendota.”

Mason Rich

“There are a lot of different people here. There are some who want to be active and some who enjoy other things. I learned a lot from a lot of different people who enjoy different activities and want different things in their town.”

Isaac Murillo

“I see the importance of what Reimagine Mendota and the City of Mendota are doing. I talked to a lot of people I didn’t know. Now that I’ve been active in getting to know people through this process, I see more people coming together.”

Kevin Herrera

“We got to interview fifth through eighth graders. It was kind of cool to see what everyone else thought. There were different opinions about everything.”