Spark is our annual leadership summit for rising middle schoolers. We work with the Mindess fifth grade student council to enhance their leadership qualities and emphasize the importance of healthy choices. We build young leaders through an afternoon of BTB-planned movement & discussion activities. Some of the most memorable are the “Confidence Stride” across the stage to boost students’ self-esteem & morale, “Minefield” obstacle course to build trust, “Telephone” activity portraying how rumors spread & change, and “Holiday!” activity of students cooperating and compromising to build their shared dream vacation. Both the elementary school & high school students have a fantastic time every year! We are confident that this program will spark ideas and traits in these young students to become leaders of today.
Helping Pearls is our volunteer program with Pearl Street Cafe & Cupboard, a local soup kitchen. Every week, students serve a full course dinner to homeless people with dignity and respect.
Project 133* is a food transport system that partners local restaurants with homeless shelters. Every week, we transport excess food from Bodacious Bagels in Ashland to Turning Point shelter in Framingham. Bridging this gap kills 3 birds with 1 stone:
1) Decreases food waste
2) Prevents hunger in our community
3) Reduces the environmental impact of methane gas from decomposing food in landfills
*find more info under the “Hammer & Chisel Collab” tab
A street store is a pop-up clothing shop for the homeless. After collecting clothing donations from our school and town for 1 month, we assembled a store-like setup in Worcester, MA and served homeless people in partnership with nonprofits, Hammer & Chisel and Net of Compassion. BTB volunteers acted as shopping assistants to ensure the people in need received clothes that they liked and fit correctly. The idea of the experience is to give the homeless people we’re serving the utmost dignity and respect.
Cape Connect Trip
The Cape Connect Trip* is Ashland High’s first international service trip. We went to Cape Town, South Africa with Hammer & Chisel, a nonprofit with bases in both Massachusetts and Cape Town. Over the 12 days there, we taught in underprivileged schools, volunteered at community centers in gang-ridden areas, and provided clothing for the homeless. We also experienced South African culture & educational system, learned about apartheid, and went on a safari!
*find more info under the “Hammer & Chisel Collab” tab
CADCA Conference – National Youth Leadership Initiative
CADCA is the nation’s leading drug abuse prevention organization that represents over 5,000 community coalitions across the U.S. and over 230 coalitions internationally. The National Youth Leadership Initiative at the CADCA Conference in Washington DC empowers over 1,200 youth from across the US annually to fight drug use and other problems plaguing their communities. We are empowered to be change agents in our community with a highly interactive and collaborative training that goes through the Strategic Prevention Framework. This is a proven model for community change that increases leadership capacities, civic and political engagement, and problem-solving among youth. At the end of our training, we receive the opportunity to advocate at the US State House on Capitol Hill! In 2016, we were able to personally talk to Senator Elizabeth Warren about our views.
Intergenerational Leadership Team
Each year, we participate in an Intergenerational Leadership Team in which Ashland High students meet & interact with Ashland senior citizens in order to bridge the gap between generations. We learn from each other and are often surprised to discover many similarities in opinion and interests. In an oral history project, we interviewed the senior citizens for a documentary produced by the Ashland Historical Society. It was especially interesting to hear the political views of a woman whose family escaped from the Holocaust.
MetroWest Youth Teaming Together
Metrowest Youth Teaming Together (MYTT) is a regional initiative for youth substance abuse prevention. BTB has the honor of representing Ashland in this effort. We help run and plan regional leadership summits and substance-free events, such as coffeehouse/open mic nights!
Each week, BTB members make our school a cleaner, nicer place to learn by providing reliable recycling collection from teachers’ classrooms.
Inspire introduces students to career opportunities that may lay ahead in their future. Professionals from various fields come in and speak about their career, education, and daily experiences in this series! The true inspiring portion of this program occurs when the speaker gives interested students the opportunity to apply for shadowing or internship experiences. So far, we have had professionals come in from the medical, writing, and public service fields!
Volunteering for Decisions at Every Turn Coalition
As the youth sector for the Decisions At Every Turn* coalition, we attend their monthly meetings, participate in focus groups, and volunteer at their events!
*find more info about Decisions At Every Turn in the widget at the bottom of this page
Volunteering at Various Community Events
We volunteer at various community events such as: Courageous Conversations, the Student Voice Collaboration, Mindess* Art Night, Mindess Kids’ Night Outs, and the Foundation For Metrowest‘s Youth in Philanthropy fundraisers.
*Mindess stands for the David Mindess Elementary School in Ashland
- Volunteering at the senior center (assisting in current events at the center, as well as running social media workshops for the seniors)