At NewSmyrnaBeachMiddle School, inspiring lessons and motivating activities are themed to the calendar and season. These activities are designed to build confidence, foster respect for others and form lasting friendships among their Teen Zone peers.
For example, in October, pumpkin painting was one of the highlights of the 2012-2013 school year. In November, there was a Thanksgiving feast prepared by students in culinary class. The Teen Zone students decorated the table with a fall theme and they all gathered around the table to enjoy the feast together. Part of the experience involved pinning things they were thankful for on a large board for everyone to see. Teen Zone was included on this board numerous times.
The success of the Thanksgiving celebration led to a Christmas feast with a gift exchange and ornament painting. In January, they hosted their second annual Chinese meal to ring in the new year. Supporting lessons involved a paper chain with student wishes and goals for the year and a group reading / discussion of the fortunes in their fortune cookies. Many had never tasted Chinese food before, so this became not only an exercise in trying new things but also a chance to have philosophical discussions about their futures. In February, the theme was love and respect while in March they had a breakfast meeting and worked on a "Greenovation" project at school involving painting stepping stones for the urban garden.
The focus sponsors Tina Hardy and Samantha Hughes placed on integrating messages and lessons into these meaningful and fun activities was very well received by the students, who in most cases are faced with many challenges. More than half of the students raised their GPA this past year as compared to the previous school year. But more important than that, these dedicated teachers provided thoughtful council; personally prepared and shared meals with their students; arranged for community donations of needed items and generally created a family atmosphere in their classroom. Food Brings Hope appreciates how much of themselves they gave to their students.