We were thrilled for the return of our Learning for Social Impact (LSI) trip, after a pandemic-pause. LSI immerses our students through research, networking, hands on activities, community service and travel to foster critical thinking, creative problem solving, social philanthropy and leadership through service learning.
This year’s program focused on the history and heritage of African Americans in the US South and included two trips:
• Baltimore, Maryland
• Savannah, Georgia
The first trip was help in April. On day one, the group of HEAF 11th and 12th graders explored Maryland’s past through a walking tour of the city and a tour of the Lillie Carroll Jackson Civil Rights Museum. Day two was spent visiting and touring Morgan State University. At HEAF, it is important to us that we are constantly exposing our students to different colleges and universities that they might not have heard about before.
The second part of the trip was held in July. The group spent six days exploring the preservation of African-American history and culture in Savannah and Georgia’s coastal islands, including cultural immersion with a focus on the Gullah-Geechee people who are descended from formerly enslaved people, primarily from the West Coast of Africa. Some activities our students participated in were Traditional African Blacksmithing, Sweet Grass Basket Weaving Workshop, and an African American History Tour.
During the Traditional African Blacksmithing demonstration, a local Gullah artist shared about the history of blacksmithing within African and African American culture and showed how different things are made with tools of times past.
Our students got to experience firsthand how sweet grass baskets are made. A Sapelo Island descendant basket weaver taught students the history of the sweet grass basket making art form, showed them how the materials are collected from the island’s natural habitat, and demonstrated the process of how the baskets are made.
During the African American History Tour, our students learned about the contributions of Africans in the creation of the colony of Georgia, the State of Georgia, and the City of Savannah; the “first Underground Railroad”; secret schools; and spiritual and cultural highlights of Africans in Savannah.
This year’s Learning for Social Impact Trip was a great success and we look forward to next years.