Over the past four years Old Otterbein's congregation and "Friends of Old Otterbein" have supported a mission outreach to Benjamin Franklin High School located in Brooklyn/Curtis Bay. It started with special projects providing some needed book bags and uniforms, clearing a courtyard for urban agriculture classes, an annual Christmas Shoppe with donations of toys, book, clothes and other gifts for friends and family members. Currently, we are fundraising for a day care playground. We also established an intern program in grounds keeping for students needing Service Learning Credits; then hired graduates of BFHS for summer jobs.
Three years ago a student human rights group calling themselves "Free Your Voice" launched a campaign against building the nation's largest trash burning incinerator less than a mile from their neighborhood and nearby schools. We've been a help in planning workshops to explore positive alternatives to incinerators and are always looking for ways to achieve zero waste. We've marched with them and attended presentations to help the public become aware of several issues in their low-income communities, i.e., air pollution, failed development, inadequate housing, low to no access to health care, and lack of meaningful participation in decision making.
This is the website dedicated to the incinerator campaign: https://stoptheincinerator.wordpress.com/
The students have just started a petition calling for the public entities to withdraw their support from the incinerator: unitedworkers.nationbuilder.com/
View the New York Times video: In Baltimore, Fighting an Incinerator
Together, Old Otterbein with other churches, communities, United Workers and media attention has worked with the students to achieve the ultimate in good citizenship - educating themselves and sharing that with others. They have discovered good results can be achieved through grass-roots efforts. We are proud to be a small part of their achievements.