Parish Government

Archive for the ‘Action’ Category

Global Perspectives – Kate, Aaron, Nathan, Alexis

In Action on November 16, 2010 at 8:11 am

Our project started off by tackling the political action questions from a worldwide perspective, examining the trends of the younger voters and participants in Brazil, Canada, Germany, and Iran.  We learned that in most of these countries youth political participation is much higher than in the United States.  We asked questions that related to these conclusions about the world’s youth in our surveys, and we mentioned them in our article we submitted to the Preston Hollow People, which has not yet been published.  We created a Facebook group that has a link to our project Google site, and we created an email address for responses to be submitted via email.

We surveyed twenty five of the kids in our upper school about many of the aspects of political action.  We asked them if they were involved in the political process, if they kept up with current events and issues, and we asked them whether or not they felt politics had any affect on their day-to-day lives.  Our survey caused many of these young Americans to think about their role in the political process.  We forced them to think about how they view politics in general.  We caused them to call their own sense of political obligation into question.  We influenced the minds of these young Americans to think about politics in general.  This can be interpreted as a form of impact.  These young Americans, who are typically oblivious to the political process and what it entails, were forced either to admit their oblivion or were forced to demonstrate their knowledge of politics while taking the survey.  They thought deeply about how they could become involved and even if they felt it were possible for them to become involved.  Our questions and our surveys demonstrated an intangible form of impact.

After gathering research and developed our own ideas we submitted an essay to the neighborhood news publication, The Preston Hollow People.  This news publication is known for its references to many activities in many schools.  They were very interested in our project and they liked our essay we submitted.  We officially submitted our essay on Friday, November 12.  This publication is read by many people within the Preston Hollow community and generates a lot of talk and interest.  Once our article is published, it is fair to say that it could be read by many people.  This generates the same sort of impact as our surveys did.  It will cause many of the readers to ponder their role in the political process and how they can expand their participation and the participation of others.

Our group has created a Facebook group named, Political Action Project, and an email address, politicalactionproject@yahoo.com.  Our Facebook group is an open group, allowing anyone to become a member.  On the group page, there is a link to our project’s Google site, which was a guideline for the project, and we have given out our email address.  Our Facebook group has over 170 members, which is tangible evidence of an impact.  Our email address also allows for responses for any of our group’s members that do not want their responses to be made public.  All though we have not received any emails, we certainly hope to in the future.  Our Facebook group and email address allows for the public to interact with our group directly and allow for our group to publish ideas and solutions.

Our group has demonstrated forms of tangible and conceptual impact through our efforts with our political action project.  Our surveys and article cause readers to think about their participation in the political process and their role within it.  Our Facebook group has demonstrated a tangible form of impact with our 170+ members.  Our email account has the potential to eventually demonstrate a physical form of an impact as our Facebook group and article gain public interest.  We have created a project that has demonstrated an impact and has the potential to increase and expand our impact as our project increases interest.

Take a Step, Make a Change – Meghan M, Tanner P, Shahrukh L, Erin D

In Action on November 5, 2010 at 4:24 pm

To make a change, you must first understand why a change is needed. The problem is that most of the younger eligible voters in America choose not to vote. What is the solution to this problem? The answer is for everyone to vote. The group’s political action project has been meaningful and impactful because we challenged the minds of those we questioned, the group impacted the people that were questioned, and the people that were questioned pledged to spread the word to vote which will cause a domino effect. We tried to make an impact and we did by making a video and asking for those we talked to, to pledge to spread the word.

For each of the people we talked to, we asked them to answer questions about the country that citizens should know. In all of the government classes, everyone took the citizenship quiz. A lot of people came to find out that as citizens they did not know as much, if they did not study, as people studying for the actual citizenship test to become a new citizen of the United States. The group decided to ask questions that may be on the citizenship test. As the questions were asked, people struggled with different questions. The one everyone struggled with was the first question. No one seemed to get the first question that was asked which was, The House of Representatives has how many voting members? Since people, even teachers, did not know the answer, it resulted in guessing different numbers. In general, some of the citizenship questions were hard to answer and some were answered correctly by at least most of the people questioned.

The whole purpose of this project was to impact people. The group’s saying was, “Take a Step, Make a Change.” The group wanted to change the perspective of the people on United States Politics for the better. By informing people about the problems of voting turnouts today, the group is helping solve the problem for tomorrow. We told the people we questioned different facts letting them know how their vote could make a difference by stating different facts from past voting percentages, such as the 2008 nation’s eligible voting turnout which was only 61.6%. This was shocking to them. What also shocked them was the 2000 Presidential election between George Bush and Al Gore. George Bush won Florida which was the deciding factor in the 2000 Presidential Election. For everyone that heard how much the vote in this state counted, they were surprised. They learned that one vote could count. George Bush won by only 1%. This could mean we could have had a different President. If at least 400 more people voted, Al Gore would have one the popular vote. That is not a lot of people. This showed people that their vote really does count in circumstances just like the Florida Presidential Election. This was what shocked people the most and made them think about how they should vote.

At the end of the video, we asked everyone to pledge to spread the word to vote. Everyone pledged to spread the word. This will cause a domino effect. Since each pledged to vote, they will spread it to at least one person they will know, and this may influence them to vote and they may spread it, and so on. If this happens, this may cause more people to vote, at least in the Dallas area. Youtube is used by many people all over the world. As more people come to watch it in the United States, the more people become influenced throughout the United States instead of being inside the boundaries of the downtown area. This project can be ongoing instead of having an ending date. The movie may have ended, but now let the word spread.

The way the group tried to impact people and spread the word about the problem of young eligible Americans not voting was by a video. We not only made it and interviewed different people, but the group also put it on youtube for people to see. The group decided to put it on youtube so that the impact would not just stay within the boundaries of the people we told and the people they told, but throughout the United States. There may be a problem, but for every problem, there should be an answer to fix it. Some take a long time, and one small group may not be able to impact people to vote all over the United States, but a group can certainly try.

Lobbying the Mayor – Iram M, Elianah G, and George R

In Action on November 5, 2010 at 4:15 pm

This project is to show that teens have a voice in the community. Most teens our age are unaware of the political complications happening in our society. Therefore, we picked this project because we feel that the city needs to repair a local road called FM544. Many accidents have been caused by the potholes, and the road decay, along with the narrowness of the rode.  Previously being a truck route, FM544 is dangerous due to the abundance of trucks traveling to and from the rock quarry. For example of how dangerous it possibly could be, one of our partners was actually in an accident due to the extensive time the truck took to pull out of the rock quarry; she was rear-ended by a woman turning the corner at 50 miles per hour.

With this project we believe that by achieving the city’s cooperation in repairing the road with us, we can improve our communities’ safety and show other teens that we have a voice.

For our plan we knew we would need some way to get the community to participate so we created petitions explaining our goal to get FM544 fixed. We thought that once anyone read the petition it would cause a chain reaction. That person would tell someone that they know that a group of kids are doing a project to fix the back road everyone dreads to drive on. There is no one in our community who does not know about the back road and how terrible the pot holes are. Our goal for this project is to get our voices heard. With the fifteen petitions we set out along with the video we made and uploaded onto youtube, people will see it and see that teenagers are taking action and trying to make a difference within the community. FM 544 consists of all the pot holes and uneven grounds along with the dangerous entries, exits, and turns.  All the cars and trucks that drive on it are put in danger taking into account the speed of the cars and bumpy ground. This road has not only caused severe car crashes that total vehicles, but also fatal crashes that lead to death. More houses are being built around the road, and more and more people are driving on it. The quick patch ups of the pot holes are becoming very ineffective with consequences of tire damage, alignment damage, engine damage and much more. We want this road to be a safe place to drive. We hope to reach this goal by showing the city evidence of how much we care about this topic and how the many people that drive on the road also care about it too. We will give them evidence of the pot holes we talk about by showing them a video taken by the group on a ride down FM544, also by all the signatures on the fifteen petitions we set up around the community. We will try to persuade them and make our voices heard as well as we can.

Pledge to Vote – Kendall H, Katherine D, and Alanna M

In Action on November 5, 2010 at 3:57 pm

How will we get young adults more involved in the political process? That was the question that our group was determined to answer and change. We then began to brainstorm, on our wiki we looked at links about other young adults who are making a difference in the political process; this inspired us. After brainstorming for a while both with each other and through our Google sites we came up with an idea. An idea we felt will help us address this issue. We were going to inform our peers about how as a generation we need to become more politically involved. By doing so we will not only make our generation more aware, but we will also encourage them to make a pledge to vote and become more politically.

Our first step was to make a Facebook page that showed how our generation lacked political efficacy and that talked about how this was a problem that needs to be changed. We titled the Facebook page, “Pledge to vote.” If someone liked our page, they make a pledge that they will be more politically involved and vote as soon as they are of age. This Facebook page consisted of a video and a description that consisted of statics, websites and a statement that addressed our issue.

In our description box on the Facebook page, we stated how our generation isn’t very politically active and how this problem needs to change. We also shared website links that we feel will encourage young adults to vote and showed them statics about the voting habits of our generation. We also stated how this page’s purpose is to get young adults informed about being more politically active and getting them to pledge to vote when they are of age.

Our second step was to make a video that consisted of recorded interviews of students from our school. The students ranged from ages 14-18 and had very different political views and backgrounds. They also had different levels of political efficacy. We asked them seven different questions that informed us of how politically aware they were, their views and their opinion on why young adults don’t vote. The seven questions were: who was the commander and chief of the army right now, who becomes the president if the president and the vice president are unable, who do they want to be the governor of Texas, what political party do their parents identify themselves with, what political party do they identify themselves with, why they don’t think young adults ages 18-24 don’t vote and will they vote when they are able.

Our final step regarding the Facebook page was to invite all of our Facebook friends to join. By inviting all of our Facebook friends we are spreading the word about how our generation needs to be more politically active and how we are encouraging them to pledge to vote. From there it was up to young adults to go onto the page, and their likes and video watches would show us how much of an impact we were able to make.

‘Your Vote. Your Future’ – Sarah A, Ani A, Caitlin H, and Allie A

In Action on November 4, 2010 at 1:24 am

Sarah A, Ani A, Caitlin H, and Allie A  (all juniors) have formed this project to get young voters age (18-24) involved in the community, and to get a bigger percentage of young voters to participate in voting when they can. In order to succeed in this project we must 1.) Develop a Political Action Project that’s broad in scope, ‘messy’ in details, and real in impact, 2.) Implement the action steps in your project design – engage in political action, and 3.)  Measure the project’s impact on the political process. We gave out wristbands that say “your vote. your future. make an impact” on them at lunch from October 22-29. We hung posters that we made on all four floors advertising our product starting three days before our lunch event. In order for us to measure real impact, customers that choose to fill out the survey and listen to basic facts about the election received a wristband. The mock vote included two questions that were “Who is one candidate in the Republican/Democratic party running for governor in Texas?” and “When you turn eighteen will you go and vote and get involved in your community of voters?” Our group wanted to dedicate all of the profits to an organization called RockTheVote, who’s mission is to engage and build political power for young people in our country.  We had some trouble with permission along the way of our project concerning selling our wristbands but eventually settled on a compromise. Along side of the wristbands, my group and I have made a website called yourvote.tumblr.com, where we will post our challenges and ideas along the way. We also filmed students of grades Freshman-Senior asking them questions about the political process and what they think about certain issues. We asked them these three questions 1. “What does a senator do, in your own words? Do you know anyone who is running for senator in Texas, and if so what party, Republican or Democrat, do they represent?” 2. “What does the President of the United States do?” and 3. “How often are bi-elections held?” We also contacted Danny Clancy, who is a candidate running for District Attorney presently to see a professionals views on young voters, we asked him 1. “Why do you think younger people age (18-24) have the lowest percentage in voting turnout?” 2. “What are your views on young American impact on society?” and 3. “How do you think younger people can get involved in the community, and help raise awareness about voting?” He answered these questions along the lines of “young Americans are of utmost importance of the success of our government, because they are the future of our country.”

Our project is considered political action because we influenced the young community of voters to get involved and participate in voting. Political action is of or relating to the government or the public affairs of a country to do something that typically is to achieve an aim. We achieved a great feat in our community and created a cultural touchstone for our community. Every time someone looks down at that little white bracelet they will remember the facts we told them about the election and how they can get involved. This is real impact because in order for someone to receive a bracelet they had to listen to basic facts about the election and participate in the mock ‘vote’/ survey. We know that our work has been influential in our neighborhood and we hope to continue our success.

‘Had Enough? Vote Republican!’ – Haley R, Taryn D, and Chris H

In Action on November 4, 2010 at 1:19 am

By doing political research on the internet, in interviews and by reading newspapers and articles, we were able to know exactly what young Americans needs to do in order to get actively involved in the political process. To start off our project, we emailed Congressman Pete Sessions to see what his team thinks we should do to be active in politics. We got an instant response encouraging us to participate in phone banks, walk in walks to spread political action, and to help put materials together for their campaigns.  We felt it was absolutely necessary for us to actually carry out these actions in order to be impactful to our peers. Once we arrived at Mr. Sessions’ office, his team asked us to help put together yard signs. Every little thing we did was helpful and politically influential to Pete Sessions and his team, as well as our friends and family. I would say we made over a hundred of these signs, which would soon be placed into families’ yards to encourage voters to get active.  By personally going to Pete Sessions’s office, we were able to be active in the political process, even though these were small actions; we know that it was influential to someone somewhere.  We thought that visiting only one political office was not enough, so we contacted Stefani Carter, a candidate for Republican State House Representative for Texas, to see how we could once again get involved as determined students who want to be involved actively in politics.  We once again emailed Ms. Carter to see if there was anything we could do to help.  Then we went to her office to help participate in the phone banks. We called potential voters in her district to encourage them to vote for Stefani and if they said they were undecided, we would then give them more information about Stefani.  We actually thought this process was pretty fun because we were able to communicate with other people in our community, but we were also being involved in politics at the same time.  Finally, we interviewed five seniors regarding their views on politics.  These interviews were helpful because they allowed us to realize what various students’ views are on politics and what ways they think they can get involved. Then afterwards, we told them multiple ways in which they can actually get involved.  We recorded all of this on our Flip Camera and then turned it into a movie presentation so we can show our classmates and peers how easy it is to be active in the political process. Another simple way we learned to be active is by just knowing the current issues and the people who are running in the election. We all informed ourselves about the current issues, for example the war in Afghanistan, the economy, healthcare, illegal immigration and so on so that we could be informed about what issues these candidates would be addressing. Even though we can’t vote, knowing the topics and the running candidates is the first step to being an active citizen in the crazy process of politics. It is so easy for young Americans to just read newspapers, watch news and be knowledgeable about politics and even doing that constitutes for being active in politics.

‘Clear Your Throat, Go Vote’ – Amber S, Matt W, Santiago Z, and Hayden S

In Action on November 4, 2010 at 1:16 am

By definition, political action is a movement of some sort, formed to promote a certain idea, campaign, candidate, or common interest. The objective is to attempt to increase awareness of certain issues and convince others to take action in them. Sometimes, this can include raising money for both candidates and caucus. Political committees are usually dedicated to one committee or matter, hoping to influence others toward that as well.

Our task was to create an action project that demonstrates that younger American participation matters. We hoped to do this by encouraging people of all ages to take an active role in voting. As well, we wanted to inform them that voting is important. As a group, we made posters saying, “Clear your throat. Go Vote”. The “catchy” slogan was carefully chosen and discussed buy our group as a powerful tool of attraction in order to have an initial interest to our project’s proposal. We as well provided information of the date of Election Day (November 2). Unlike many political action groups, our message was not directed towards a certain group, and we weren’t trying to give a message promoting one certain Party. But rather, we wanted to encourage people to vote. On the bottom of our signs,  we had slips of paper with a helpful website address that could easily be torn off. This website (www.dalcoelections.org) gives a basic description of common voting questions, lists candidates on the ballots, as well as gives polling locations throughout multiple communities. We distributed this poster in various different locations. We placed them where we thought that they would create the most impact to a large number of people: Starbucks, Chick-fil-a, Saxby’s, around neighborhoods, and other different locations. We hoped that they would let us advertise our poster. One week later we came back to the locations and picked up our posters to figure out if people took interest in them.  Unfortunately, the employees did not put them up in all places, but on the ones that they did, we had successful results. On the contrary, we analyzed that the method we used was a successful one, due to that the slips and information was taken by personal interest and not imposed.

The group analyzed the objective to attempt to increase awareness of certain issues was successful and convinced the small group of people it was targeted to, influencing others close to them towards that as well. By giving out the message that voting is important in order to have your voice heard, we made an impact (even if it was the slightest) among everyday people.

Blogging for Voters – Johne M and Connor F

In Action on November 4, 2010 at 1:09 am

Political action is idea that is promoted in a community to increase awareness or amount of knowledge about issues to get other people involved. In our group’s political Action project we thought the most important part was to define the question that we were trying to solve, which was why younger age Americans between the ages 18 and 24 choose not to vote. In attempt to solve the question and get the community involved we created a survey that asked four main detailed questions about why other people think younger Americans choose not to vote. The questions we asked in our surveys were: What do you think is the main reason that young people ages 18-24 choose not to vote?, If you were being asked by someone to vote, would it make you more likely to go to the polls?, If it was convenient to vote, do you think that more younger Americans would choose to voice their opinion? Why?, If congress were to change laws that directly impacted young Americans ages 18-24 do you think that it would make people more interested in casting their vote? After we collected all of our surveys and gathered up all the different opinions, we thought of a way in which we could organize it all into an educational scenario that might help solve the problem.  In the attempt to find an answer and to solve the problem we wanted to make it to where it would benefit and be available to the most amount of people possible.

The best way to represent this idea was to create a blog  pertaining all the information we could come up with that would benefit and inspire young Americans to go to the polls to cast their votes and let their voices be heard. The blog consisted of places to vote around Dallas and many other surrounding cities. We also posted links on how the voting process works incase someone did not vote because they did not know how or because they did not know how important it is to voice your opinion in a democratic government.  It also includes information for all the up coming candidates for governor of Texas. All the information that is posted about the candidates are their links to their campaigns sites and we also posted their campaign videos, advertisements, and if they did not have an advertisements, we posted a link of an interview about them. The whole idea of this concept was for the young voters to get an idea where each candidate stood on important topics. Also are intensions were to encourage people to look up and find information about the candidates and get more familiar with so they can form their own opinion and vote for the one that best fits their own opinion. This is also for anyone to see any other candidate’s important stances pertaining any specific issue.   The main point of the blog was to try and get younger Americans more informed with the political process so they can get more involved in government. It is important for people to vote so that their voices needs to be heard in government and it is important. By accomplishing our task of informing young Americans about the voting process we hoped to make an impact on the voting community.

Voter (?) Interviews – Caitlin C, Jordan J, Eric E, and Ben H

In Action on November 4, 2010 at 12:57 am

In the middle of the first trimester this year in our Government and Economics class, our teacher gave us a wonderful opportunity: make an impact; how you do this is your choice. Our goal was to make an impact on how people view politics and voting.  Lack of political efficacy within young Americans (ages 18-24) has been increasing and will make a negative impact.

As a group, we decided right away that we wanted to move beyond the limited area of our school to a community college. We began to form ideas and we came up with this one: we would interview several people at our school, Parish, and several students from Brookhaven College. We took videos of our group interviewing the students and we took polls on who would be voting in the local elections this year (along with who would be voting for the Presidential elections) in 2012.

We also decided to record a video for YouTube stating the effects of political indifference and posted the links to each of our Facebooks so we could record the number of views on our video.  By doing this, we hoped that the local community would be affected by our enthusiasm for politics and aspire to also be enthusiastic. We made a point to engage in discussions while interviewing students because we felt that we could make better our argument and point and to enlighten them on the current, very urgent issue of lack of political efficacy.

We started off our interviews by asking people if they were planning to vote for local and political leaders. If the answer was no, we would talk to them about reasons why they should vote and we would speak to them about the effect that their political indifference has on the community and therefore the nation.

All fifteen of our interviewees agreed that political indifference is a prominent problem in our country currently and even some of those people agreed that they are part of the problem. This stated a fact: the indifferent are aware that they are a problem but they do not care because they are indifferent. We were therefore able to discuss the problem with them further and inform them of the problem that they are causing. At Parish, most students were enthusiastic about politics and all but one agreed that they would vote for local political leaders and Presidents in upcoming elections. When we arrived at Brook Haven, several students had different attitudes towards politics and the government in general and we were able to fulfill our action statement, which was to enlighten people.

As for the YouTube video which we made in order to spread the word of our statement. Our first video stating the effects of political indifference has a total of seventy-nine views so far which was a good number because seventy-nine young Americans in the community are now aware of the current problem.

In conclusion, we did our project because we wanted to see what people thought about politics and if they are aware that there is a current problem. In addition, our group was able to do some research individually and we discovered what political indifference really means and how it affects the government, even if slowly. We learned that one vote does matter and we wanted to do a project that would allow us to teach what we learned to other people and to inform them of problems through visual interviews and videos. We tried to keep our project relatively simple but effective at the same time and our way of doing this was to work together to impact viewers so we could inherit knowledge from our project in order to further see the problem we were discussing.

Centers of Influence – Meggan S, Haley M, and Mark E

In Action on November 4, 2010 at 12:51 am

This past month in class, on every Wednesday or Thursday, and even outside of class, we have been working on our political project. The goal of our project was to try and make an impact on Amercian’s of ages 18 to 24 years old.  In particular, our specific goal was to try and improve voting rates and increase the knowledge of what these young Americans know about the political world. Over the course of the time for the project we interviewed the students at our school, and tested their knowledge of the United States government. We then consolidated all the results and posted them in a video on YouTube and on Facebook. The second half of our project was to get people to write the word “VOTE” on his or her arm representing that they will or plan to vote when they reach 18 years of age.

After creating our blogging site, we went around the school asking several students from each grade about what they knew about the government. We were shocked by the results! At first, we made a list of questions that we thought were easy, like, when was the upcoming election day this year? However, most of the students seemed to struggle with this and several other what we thought were easy questions. Some of the other questions we asked included: What is a Congressional District? What Congressional District does one live in? Who are the two candidates running for governor in Texas?  What are these elections for?  Some of our results we got were named of people that did not even exist, or were even names of people running for office. We also were given numbers for congressional districts that do not even exist in Texas. For example, one student answered with congressional district 42, and that Kay Bailey Hutchison was running for governor of Texas.  After filming the student’s responses to our questions we posted the video of them online and hoped to get the most amounts of viewers we could with what time we had left.

In addition to the video that we produced and put online hoping it would be viewed by our audience, we also needed to prove that young Americans were impacted by what we had done and were doing. We also asked students through Facebook and text messaging to write the word “VOTE” on their arm to see whether our message was getting out. We asked everyone that would eventually vote or when they become qualified to vote would be influenced by our messaging. We were very surprised by the result because using this electronic media, Facebook and texting, it was relatively easy to get our message out easily and quickly. Also, we found that most people when the got the message were quick to follow the suggestion to write “VOTE” on their arms. Many people these days were so willing to support our cause, especially when they hear the message from people that are similar in age to them. If the age group of the people sending out the messages were older or much younger they would be disconnected from the target age group. If the message came from these unconnected sources, the chances for our target group to respond would have been lower for sure. Writing the word “VOTE” on his or her arm is just like they used to do in Afghanistan with the finger prints. Both the people from Afghanistan and us were making a statement. This message being that they have or will vote or support the elections.

This action project was a good way for people to see how much of an impact one can make in encouraging people of a certain age group to vote. In our project, we hoped that using current technologies such as YouTube, Facebook, and simple texting, coming from similar aged people, we would be able to spread our message and learning to a similar aged voting or soon to be voting population. We were very surprised to see how our efforts to spread our message traveled around very quickly. Young Americans need to get registered and go to the polls and vote, because without their voice, government will not be able to hear them, and therefore, their opinion will not matter. Also, if they do not make their opinions known and try to influence change, then it will be difficult for them to later complain.