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Medford high school junior’s project a good example of social change

MEDFORD — One of the most community-conscious groups in the city of Medford is active nearly year-round and its members are all still teenagers.

Medford High School’s Center for Citizenship & Social Responsibility (CCSR) is approaching 100 members strong and is one of the most visible both in and out of the school in the community.

“The CCSR has been effective because it is a student and teacher-based program,” Superintendent Roy Belson said. “We believe that creating authentic projects which engage the students and teachers results in creating experiences that can have a positive effect and help make the world a better place.”

A good example of the type of project the CCSR fosters is the recent project initiated by Medford High junior, Niamh Keane, who in addition to her CCSR membership, is a member of the Medford High Key Club and a student-athlete with the Mustang Crew Team.

Keane’s new project is collecting donations of school supplies from her classmates and anyone else to send to Guatemala.  

“I joined CCSR because I wanted to help people all over the world and working on a project is the best way to do it,” Keane said. “Members of CCSR have set up projects all over the city and some internationally that are making a change.That is the goal here as well.”

Guatemala is one of the most poverty-stricken countries in Central America, with the lowest literacy rate of all the countries in that region. Teachers are low paid and the central government pays no other costs, including for school supplies.

“Education is expensive in Guatemala and parents can’t always afford all the costs,” Keane said. “By sending supplies down I am able to help families send their kids to school and help better their future.”

Earlier this school year Medford High’s CCSR was chosen for WCVB-Channel 5’s A+ Awards for exemplary contributions to their community and school.

This past summer, the CCSR  received a generous $100,000 “100Kfor100” Award from the Cummings Foundation. Leaders of the group at the time said the CCSR  planned to use the funding “to promote innovative student-focused projects for the school district and the community and develop district events, activities, and curriculum.”

“The CCSR strongly believes teaching young children and adolescents how to be empathetic and understand other cultures, races, religions, gender preferences and ethnicity are imperative to preventing tragedies and other forms of intolerance,” CCSR Director Richard Trotta said in a statement.

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