Kimball students learn of local poverty
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Mar 05, 2014 | 6049 views | 5 5 comments | 44 44 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kimball students study poverty
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A group of Kimball High School students got a glimpse into the world of Tracy’s poverty stricken with a tour of Tracy Interfaith Ministries on Tuesday.

The tour was part of a poverty project created by Kimball’s social science department chair, Jared Rio, for his human rights students. The objective, he said, was to introduce the students to the issue so they could work together to try to formulate solutions.

“I wanted to give the kids a learning opportunity,” he said. “I think food drives are good, but I want to create something that is long lasting.”

Rio called it a new approach to teaching about poverty.

“Get them to realize the true issue,” he said. “See it exists and spark some ideas on how they can connect to this issue.”

Tuesday, a group of 38 students walked four miles from the Kimball High campus, 3200 Jaguar Run, to Interfaith, 311 W. Grant Line Road. Once there, the students broke into groups to tour the facility with Interfaith Director Darlene Quinn.

“It’s actually a really cool experience to see what people in Tracy are doing to help with the poverty situation,” senior Iris Nelson, 17, said. “It’s inspiring to have a teacher like Mr. Rio to help advocate it. This is my first time here — I’m really excited to see what I can do to help out.”

Brianna Pekari, 17, also a senior, liked that the tour put things into a different perspective for her. She said she often feels helpless when she sees the homeless.

“I feel so bad,” senior Navkirat Mann, 18, said. “I came to this (tour) super pumped.”

Seventeen-year-old senior Tim Pojim said he was always hearing about poverty in third-world countries and wanted the opportunity to see its effects where he and his fellow students live.

Quinn was happy to show the students the intake area, where qualified residents check in and request food, clothing and other daily essentials, and the food warehouse and pantry.

“They seem really interested,” Quinn said. “It’s kind of fun. I’m interested in what Jared Rio is doing.”

While workers sorted through donated food in the warehouse, students watched as Quinn explained the process to provide needy families with a five-day supply of food. She said those with housing can get free food every 14 days, but those who are homeless can acquire food once a week.

“You hear about food banks, but I didn’t know how they work,” senior Jasbin Dhanjal, 18, said. “It was a lot bigger than I thought.”

“It’s really efficient,” classmate Juliet Pulliam, 17, said. “You can tell they are dedicated and doing it for a good cause.”

Rio said he planned to expand his poverty project throughout the school and brainstorm ways students can address the issue. He said he also plans to organize a campus garden, host a homeless meal in a public park and organize the collection of food and supplies for Interfaith and McHenry House Tracy Family Shelter.

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or

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March 05, 2014

The Human Rights Class is an elective course. This same course has also organized the on-campus Holocaust memorial museum as well as the annual Day of Peace, not to mention had a hand in bringing attention locally to the KONY 2012 campaign. If you check most of the positives coming from KHS outside of athletics, this class and Mr. Rio are at the center.

Beyond wht you find on an exam, this class has proven to assist students in "real world" skills, including:

-Team work/collaboration



-problem solving

-delegation of responsibilities

-community outreach (as in contacting business/organization leaders on projects)

-partnership between public and provate institutions

All of these skills (not to mention the writing, research, and public speaking rigor required of the course) are put to relevant, "real world" use (not just witnessed by a teacher and 30 peers for a grade but creating an impact on a community).

I don't know about you, but I'm sure employers out there would find such skills to be more of an asset than a student who spent time after school flipping burgers.
March 05, 2014
What does it matter if they didn't make their API target? It's an article on how a teacher is trying to make an impact on his students. He is trying to reach them through non-traditional ways and make them think about other things in the world other then themselves. Also this has nothing to do with religion. There are many ways to teach and learn and "teaching to the test" isn't working. By the way, none of the Tracy High schools made the benchmark of 800. Kimball still ranked the highest out of the 3 schools.
March 05, 2014
"...human rights students"

"...teaching about poverty"

"...teacher like Mr. Rio to help advocate it.

Let's go look at how Kimball High ranks:

* This school did not meet its schoolwide API target for 2013.

* This school has not yet met the state goal of 800.

Maybe we need to focus a bit more on educating students and preparing them for college entrance exams and less on community outreach programs at religious institutions.
March 05, 2014

This is what you need to know about our "commons."

A "private" system of consumption and production may be create without the need of full participation from its citizens; that is, it doesn't require everyone work for its vitality and viability. I once told my sister, "even if everyone earned a college degree, it wouldn't change the fact someone still needs to sweep the floor." Now, some people would say Silicon Valley is unable to fulfill all employment needs locally, thus, S.V. seeks candidates abroad, as well.

The metro-tempo of our lives dictates a lot. What a shortage of workers in some industries does is really slow down the pace of that tempo.

I realize people who are threatened by particular medical difficulties argue a greater pace to the innovative actions that might mitigate or eliminate their plight, but this is a relative perspective.

I guess we are in hyper-drive and can't imagine operating at a speed less than this. I think the hyper-drive paradigm has its consequences. One consequence might be our contempt for those who aren't skilled and educated to keep the hyper-drive going. Half the world struggles with education and guidance.
March 05, 2014
Civic responsibility is more than just having a job. I have met so many people over the years who were politically apathetic. "Hey, I have a job, so I will spend my evenings sedated and will be fanatical about sports and eat slaughtered cows that lived in squalor."

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