Middle School Paths to Leadership


In the summer of 2007, AAU organized a summer program titled Paths to Leadership for middle school youth from both FACTS and from other local schools. The youth participated in a variety of leadership development activities, learned about environmental and community issues, and developed a plan to implement a recycling program at the FACTS. 

In the first years of FACTS, we couldn’t do all of things we aspired to do. The goal of AAU’s 2007 summer youth leadership program was to help FACTS get a recycling program up and running in the following school year. The students researched the problems of out-of-control resource consumption and growing landfills; designed materials that could be used to promote recycling among the school community; met with a recycling company; made a plan that could be implemented given the school’s limited resources; and developed a budget for a recycling program. 

The project culminated in a presentation to the school principal and administration that included: 

  • why FACTS should have a recycling program;
  • posters, table tents, signs, and a newsletter article that could be used to encourage students and staff to recycle and to inform them of how to recycle;
  • a plan for implementing the recycling program along with a budget;
  • a referral to a recycling company that had expressed willingness to work with us;
  • a request for the administration to commit to implementing the program the following school year.

Every student had a part to present and gained the (scary!) experience of making a public presentation. The students masterfully answered all of the questions asked by the principal and the finance and operations administrators of the school. In 2008 and 2009, students focused on neighborhood exploration and urban gardening as they worked to transform a nearby vacant lot into a green space. The Paths to Leadership Program ran from 2007 to 2009 and was then expanded into the AAU Summer Program in 2010.