StopWaste at School


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Cesar Chavez

Cesar Chavez Middle School in Hayward incorporates 4Rs programming in a wide range of formal afterschool programming. Students have hosted a “trashy fashion show” to investigate the creative reuse of materials, organized recycling campaigns on campus, and studied composting as part of the school’s garden/nutrition program.

Youth Empowerment through Gardening

Reuse posters from jeans!Reuse posters from jeans!The SLWRP students at Cesar Chavez have been doing a lot of Reuse, and a lot of Rot, lately! Not only did they successfully complete another round of Jeans for Teens through the Aeropostale store in Pleasanton - where they collected  150 pairs of jeans for youth in homeless shelters - but they've also been helping out at the school's garden, too. A fantastic partnership has developed between Chavez's after-school program, the Youth Enrichment Program (YEP), and Project EAT, a program whose mission is to "end health inequities and close the achievement gap in school communities" through gardening and nutrition curriculum.

site of the new gardensite of the new gardenYEP has been using the dark greens (chard, kale), and other veggies from the garden as part of its cooking club, which meets weekly on Wednesdays. Karen Byers, the SLWRP lead and YEP Coordinator at Chavez, is a big fan of greens and finding ways to "cook them right", with spices and golden balsamic vinegar, to make students fall in love with them. YEP students have also been a big part of Project EAT's after-school Gardening Club which meets twice weekly. The club is now re-vamping itself into an internship, complete with an application. "I wanted to get a little more commitment from the students to come each meeting," Josh Bennett, Chavez's Project EAT lead explained. "I also want to do more in-depth, fun things like taking students on field trips - like to an organic farm - so they can learn more about local, California agriculture."

The garden at Chavez has been so successful thus far (complete with picnic tables, compost piles, and planter boxes), that it's being moved to a larger, sunnier spot by Josh's office. Karen has asked to keep the kale-filled planter boxes in their original location (close by YEP's classrooms), so those students who aren't already part of the new Garden Internship program can still take care of those perennials, and have easier access to them for cooking. Both Karen and Josh hope to get new, future 6th graders interested in YEP and the garden by painting swirling leaves, fruits, flowers, veggies, and colorful hand-prints around the sides of the garden at an upcoming 6th grade Visitor Day in April. Karen also plans to hook them with her second annual Trashy Fashion Show, featuring clothing created from second-hand clothing, "trash," and recyclable items.

More to report later this spring!

Trashy Fashion at Chavez Middle School

Trashy FashionTrashy FashionThe afterschool program at Chavez Middle School in Hayward hosted an after school assembly to celebrate Earth Day and welcome future students to the program.

The event, organized by program coordinator Karen Byers and her student leaders featured a "Trashy Fashion Show" to show creative reuse ideas for discarded materials, healthy snacks featuring compostable foods, napkins and plates, environmental rap performances by students, and speeches about the importance of caring for the earth. 

One student was inspired by the gulf oil spill to make a flowing gown from discarded plastic.  "I found out that plastic is made from oil.  If we use less plastic, or reuse what we've already made, we won't have to pump so much of it out of the ocean in the future."

Teens for Jeans

Eartlier this year, students from Chavez Middle School in Hayward began collecting used blue jeans to donate to homeless teenagers as part of a campaign by the Aeropostale clothing company.  This reuse project intended to serve two purposes- keep clothing out of landfills & provide quality, fashionable clothing to those in need.

Do it for HaitiDo it for HaitiAfter the earthquake in Haiti, students turned their efforts to supporting Haiti's earthquake victims.  Students, Parents (of Bowman Elementary), Teachers and District employees brought slightly worn jeans and one 8th grader brought a pair of new jeans. Y.E.P. cooridnator Karen Byers recalls the great feeling she got when she handed over the bag of softly worn jeans. This event brought Cesar Chavez Middle School together and gave the school something to be extremely proud of.  

619 Pairs Donated!619 Pairs Donated!Everyone smiled when they heard the impact they provided for the Haitians. On Valentines Day February 14, 2010, students created a chart of how many jeans were donated. Chavez's initial goal was 500, but for the school 500 was not enough, so with the participation of great students and staff they turned in 619 pairs of jeans. To celebrate this effort, students will represent the success with a giant poster for future students to see and remember what YEP means to community.

Teens for JeansTeens for Jeans

Green Business visits Chavez Middle School

On March 3, 2010 Y.E.P. students were visited by Bonnnie and Steve Melgoza, owners of Goza Gear, a certified green business producing high quality organic cotton t-shirts.  Located in Livermore, Goza Gear's mission is to:

  • Goza GearGoza GearProvide quality alternative and conventional fabric apparel to the environmentally and socially conscious business community, helping these businesses to reinforce their business philosophy by 'Walking the Talk'.
  • [Goza's] goal is to set an example for businesses, by implementing sustainable business practices that not only reduce the consumption of natural resources, but also helps rebuild the state of our planets agriculture. As a result, making the case that a business can survive and be profitable without contributing to the current global economic and environmental crisis.

Steve gave a presentation on how the company uses organic cotton for making all of their clothing. He brought samples showing how plastic bottles are transformed into thread for sewing. Student's and staff alike agreed that more businesses should adopt policies that minimize environmental damage. 

To learn more about Goza Gear, visit:

Recycling Contest at Chavez Middle School

Cesar Chavez Y.E.P. organized a Recycling Contest for the whole school from Nov.30- Jan.19 with the purpose of making a difference in the community. Students decided to start a recycling contest in which all 4th period classes would compete against each other to see who could bring in the most bags of cans and bottles to win a pizza party hosted by Y.E.P. There was very supportive staff involved to assist with incentives for a successful event.  Mrs. Leache's in Rm. 3 won the contest by collecting 18 large garbage bags of recyclables. With the whole school pitching in, Y.E.P. successfully raised $130.00. The project successfully launched an ongoing recycling program on campus and is helping motivate a positive transformation of how students and staff feel about the campus.