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July 18, 2013

Middle School Students Win $10,000 Grant
to Develop Anti-Cyber Bullying Campaign

Catholic Social Services Out of School Time Programs
Teaching Cyber Safety in Summer Camp

Two Catholic Social Services Out of School Time (OST) Programs for middle school students were recently awarded a $10,000 grant to support their Cyber Cadets Summer Workshop, an anti-bullying, community-building campaign developed and led by the very youth who will participate in the program. Fifty students enrolled in OST Summer Camp Programs at St. Martin de Porres in North Philadelphia and DePaul School in Germantown will work to find common ground, with the goal of bringing youth from very different neighborhoods together for a united purpose - to promote cyber safety.

The grant was awarded through Project: Connect Summer Youth Programming Competition, a national effort recognizing non-profit organizations for innovative programming that maximizes learning by making "the online experience" for young people one that is more civic, safe, and empowering. This project is funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

"The competition this year is designed to engage young people in solving a real-world challenge - making the Internet a safer and more powerful place to advance learning," said Connie Yowell, Director of Education at the MacArthur Foundation. "The ability to meet that challenge will help determine whether education will be more relevant to both young people and the economy where they will be eventually looking for work."

Over eight weeks this summer, participating students will work collaboratively online using Google Docs, Skype, and to create and share an anti-cyber bullying message with peers in hopes of promoting change within their communities. Students will learn how to make a Public Service Announcement video, develop print campaign materials, design web content, and maintain social media components that send an anti-bullying message. Joint social activities throughout the summer include a "Meet and Greet" Barbecue, fieldtrip to iPlay America, Scavenger Hunts, and Youth Dance, all focused on putting anti-bullying efforts into practice.

OST Programs Education Coordinator Kate McDowell comments, "It is vitally important today for staff leading our youth to be aware that digital media is the pulse fueling the interests of our children. It is our responsibility as educators and mentors to help kids develop proper etiquette for communicating and collaborating online. We are pleased to receive the funding to help our staff to do just that."


Stephanie Brophy
Associate Director of Communications

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