Autrey Mill Middle School is very lucky to embed teaching empathy at the core of our teaching practices. One group in particular focuses more on building empathy and compassion as well as how to put that into action within our school community - our 7th grade leadership team led by the amazing Dr. Gamel.
I have been looking for a special opportunity for these students since I found out about their involved group of great minds and hearts since I arrived at AMMS. I was so lucky to have come across a Twitter post about Danny Meyer, founder of Under a Tree, a college scholarship fund for aspiring civic leaders & social activists who are ethical, compassionate, accountable & unrelenting in their pursuit of justice. Under A Tree is dedicated to reclaiming and redefining the meaning of leadership. Through fellowship programs and a social impact curriculum, they seek to cultivate a new generation of civic leaders and social entrepreneurs who are ethical, compassionate, accountable, and unrelenting in their pursuit of justice.
Danny met with our students before Thanksgiving break to spark their inner passions, discuss how they can use that to find a need and solution in their community, and talk about how one person can begin a ripple effect within their school community. One activity he had our students participate in left me almost in tears as students began to share what they are proud of and what they are ashamed of in their lives. It was an extremely powerful hour with a very enlightened speaker who understood not only how to teach empathy and connections but also understood the mind of a tween.
I am thankful for Dr. Gamel for allowing these students to be a part of this experience and cannot wait to see the IMPACT they will make at AMMS because of this experience.