Diego and Lorenzo standing shoulder to shoulder image

Brothers find opportunities to take ownership in their community.

Badger Rock provides opportunities for student engagement with community change.

Badger Rock Middle School (BRMS) Class of 2015 graduates Diego and Lorenzo became agents of community change at an early age. The tall, athletic twin brothers put aside their natural reserve to convince a local builder that the park next to their school needed soccer goals. “We emailed him to explain how soccer goals with nets would be a benefit to our community, and we persuaded him to donate them to our soccer club,” explains Diego. “Now kids can play soccer in the neighborhood any time.”

Finding opportunities to be engaged in the community is part of the curriculum at BRMS; creating those opportunities is a key goal of the collaboration that brought Badger Rock Center to life. The neighborhood and nearby natural areas serve as extended classroom spaces so that students better understand the value of community and the environment.

“BRMS is more than just a school,” says Lorenzo. “We had opportunities to do a lot of things related to sustainability and the environment, and also work in the community. We’ve helped the community by gardening on field days, and also by talking in the community about littering.”

Center for Resilient Cities had hoped the partnerships formed at Badger Rock Center would open the door to unique learning for the students, and that is exactly what’s happening. During their seventh-grade year, the brothers helped to conduct a research survey to gather neighbors’ input and suggestions for community improvement. They also examined quality of life in other local neighborhoods. The class made recommendations to the Badger Rock Center Sustainability Outreach Team, which is using the research and recommendations to develop programs for building community resilience. “We’re learning how to make our community better,” says Diego. “We saw that other neighborhoods have a lot more events, so we wanted to change that. It’s important to bring everybody together.”

A pair of avid soccer players, Lorenzo and Diego have found a way to share their passion for the game and earn some money too. Through connections formed at Badger Rock Neighborhood Center, they secured summer jobs with the local soccer camp assisting the adult soccer coaches. “I’d like to be a professional soccer player, but I plan to become a doctor,” says Lorenzo. “I think that when I get to high school, I’ll continue to look for ways to be involved in my community.”