Solving Problems on the Playground

Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma-anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.


The stench of a burnt building polluted the air. Children huddled around the damage, confused, even though the fire was forty-eight hours behind them. What had been a recently remodeled apartment project just six short years earlier had been reduced to rubble - a red brick building, now blackened, was burned from the inside out. What had been home to these children was now a taped-off toxic and poisoned zone, enclosed by yellow caution tape. Residents anxious to find their lost possessions picked through the remnants. Trash lay scattered next to the children's feet, alongside charred wood and blistered brick. The reality of this misfortune settled in.

Wood Valley Apartments was a familiar place. Just three months earlier, I had volunteered in an effort called Project Backyard to play with the same kids and talk to their families. We donated picnic tables and clothes to them as well. This time, Wood Valley was not the recipient of a gift, but the victim of a tragedy. And there was another fire that had not yet been extinguished - my need to check in on the children I had met and played with just a short while ago was immense. After I pulled up to the building a few days following the blaze, I wondered what I could possibly do to...

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