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Service Students Target Bullying, Diet, Teen Hygiene

Incoming 7th graders from Sacramento City Unified School District bring their community concerns to the table in a proactive way.

Boys in sunglasses saunter down the halls of , practicing their best mean faces; someone yells "action!" and they start running and yelling.

Mr. Phil with the nonprofit group Target: Excellence is on standby, filming the group with a cell phone. He's directing the group that's creating an anti-bullying video as part of a summer day program at the school focusing on community service. Leaders there said students voiced their top concerns, such as gangs and vandalism, and prioritized those topics.

"Times are changing, young people are dealing with a lot," Marie Rodriguez, a language arts teacher at Albert Einstein Middle School, said.

Project manager Janna Azim said there were 51 students in attendance Tuesday, with a total of about 55 to 60 incoming 7th graders from Sacramento City Unified School District enrolled in the 6-week Summer of Service program, which continues through the end of July. It's funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and is new this summer for Rosemont's middle school students.

Students have six projects in the works, including the anti-bulling video and pamphlet. The Healthy Me group is working to compile personal hygiene kits for St. John's shelter that will go to homeless teens. The Healthy Eating group is working on a skit about balanced meals, showing people choosing whole grains like quinoa over soda and pizza.

Rodriguez said the service-oriented projects fit a variety of needs and issues prevalent in Rosemont.

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