It is easy to feel helpless when it comes to big issues, such as poverty and humanitarian relief. How could one person make a difference?
That’s where the Missouri Public Affairs Academy (MPAA) comes in.
“MPAA brings together talented high school students from across the state,” said Alex Johnson, MPAA director.
The academy is for Missouri students who are about to start their senior year of high school. MPAA runs July 7-14.
In eight days, students make a difference through service projects. They also learn from community leaders and engage with issues at home and abroad.
“The Missouri Public Affairs Academy is action-based,” Johnson said. “That’s one of the many powerful aspects.”
Students will work with several organizations:
- Child Advocacy Center
- Convoy of Hope
- Northwest Project
- Ronald McDonald House Charities
- Springfield Community Gardens
Implementing the theme
Each activity directly relates to this year’s public affairs theme, “Sustainability in Practice: Consensus and Consequences.”
The theme focuses on sustainability in all aspects of life. This includes social, medical and arts. Students also look at sustainability on local, national and global levels.
“By considering sustainability in many contexts, we can use our knowledge and tap into our passions to make a difference,” Johnson said.
Students will hear from community leaders, such as:
- Shawn Askinose, Askinosie Chocolate, founder and CEO
- Dr. Amy Blansit, Soley Jolie founder and The Northwest Project director
- Dr. Paul Wilson, Missouri Supreme Court judge
- Greg Burris, former Springfield city manager
- Jim Anderson, marketing and public affairs vice president at CoxHealth
- Brian Fogle, Community Foundation of the Ozarks, president and CEO
For the greater good
One of the most rewarding parts of the week is a yearly project titled, “For the greater good.”
“Each person has unique talents, skills and passions,” Johnson said. “MPAA provides the opportunity for high school students to develop those strengths.”
Students reflect on the needs of their specific community. They work on a culminating project that will benefit their hometown.
When they get home, they put their project to work.
“We are eager to welcome the class of 2018 to Missouri State,” Johnson said. “It will be an unforgettable week of transformation.”