This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
When Jerry Zuviri observed his “teacher” raising her voice at his friend Malcolm Seawright, he knew just what to do. He quickly rose from his seat, loudly called out “Pause!” and stopped the entire “classroom” mid-frame. He then turned towards the video cameras and read from his field notes, “Here we see….”
School? Not exactly. Zuviri and Seawright, classmates at Olney High School and members of Youth United for Change (YUC), were performing a skit in which they demonstrated the field observation skills they learned as part of Research for Action’s (RFA) second annual Youth Research Camp.
For five days in June, Zuviri, Seawright, and 40 other youth activists spent their days learning research skills that they can use to support the work of their organizations.
In addition to YUC, young people from the Community Leadership Institute, Congreso de Latinos Unidos, Nu Sigma Youth Services, Philadelphia Student Union, Sigma Beta Club of West Philadelphia, and Youth VOICES at Vare Beacon participated. Students tackled a variety of issues, ranging from abuse of eminent domain to college access for African American males to teacher quality.
Diane Brown, senior research associate at RFA and Director of the Youth Research Camp, said she was excited about the camp’s potential: “I thought the students were intriguing, authentic, diverse, and complicated. The plans are that we will bring the groups back together to re-connect, do some skill-building, and increase their visibility.”
For information on plans for Research Camp 2006, contact Diane Brown at Research for Action, 215-823-2500 x507.