banner image showing hunger looming over Melbourne, Florida

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Our Journey Into This Topic Started With Brainstorm Essential Questions
Our teacher then scheduled a special speaker to come and talk with us about the issue of hunger. Mr. Keith Heinly is the Community Impact Director for United Way of Brevard. United Way is a national, non-government agency that coordinates non-profit and public assistance efforts for our area. This was a very informative introduction to a very complex topic for our Girls Get IT club.

Following Our Visit from the United Way Director
We Began To Dig Deeper
He left us with a number of websites and new ideas to investigate. Some of us worked with our parents and the Beta Club to investigate some of the Soup Kitchens and Food Banks in our community. We were disappointed to find out that we were too young to volunteer at the Soup Kitchen.

Open Ended Responses from Our Survey Question: How do people in your community
act towards the hungry?

Food rally, giving food to different organizations. Participating or donating time serving food.
"Some donate food in churches. There you can find pantry probably every day in another church.
Other give food in parks, like the 2nd Saturday of the month close to Melbourne Library.
Last year, Publix donated food to many families from University Park Elementary school,..."
People in my community sometimes give free food to the hungry. Sometimes stores give food to many hungry families in the community.
Those of means that live beachside look down on the hungry like they aren't doing enough to help themselves. There are so many dynamics that can happen to a person/family to have them impoverished and hungry, thru no fault of their own.
mostly indifferent
Donate and try help in anyway possible
If someone sees anyone that may be hungry, they ususally buy them something to eat..I sure do!
Many people aren't aware about the hungry in our community.
Run Food Drives and there are Food Pantries
I can't say for certain but i help when I can.
There is a soup kitchen in Melbourne for people who need a meal. The boy scotts collect food from the local community to help resupply the food banks in Brevard County.
Scared or afraid
Some care
People shy away from them. I think they feel like they should belong somewhere else
i think that it is a silent problem. People sometimes are just too proud to admit that they are hungry. If there is more knowledge on it I think the community will step up more and help out.
I don't know.
Food pantries available but they are suffering shortages of food because of those in need.
Through churches and soup kitchens.
People donate some food for poor people. I do.
Food banks, soup kitchens. Scouts & postal employees collect periodically for food banks. Federal government implemented National School Lunch & Breakfast Programs.
I am a teacher and we mainly deal with kids that go without meals at home. We try to pack weekend backpacks for students if we know that there is a need. The free breakfast program in Brevard County was aimed to make sure that all kids have the opportunity to eat at school, if not at home.
Think it is unlikely
Not always kind
Many people would rather pretend the problem does not exist, and wouldn't want the Daily Bread to be moved to their community.
Not sure; not really involved in my community. I do know that our church does a lot to make sure people do not go hungry.
"some disrespectfully
however many churches and organizations provide help and support"
Not very kind to those in need of food.
Food shelters, church outreach, friends helping friends, United Way organizations.
"I think they don't know how to act because people who are hungry don't usually talk about it.
I think most are dic-connected, never been in the situation so they feel in dosnt exist!
Like it does not exist under our noses.
It is a very mixed reaction. Some people are eager to help while others think it's not their problem to deal with. Some think it needs to be addressed as long as soup kitchens are not set up near their homes.
They don't want to think about it and that it could happen in our community.
Many people unfairly judge the hungry, especially if they are also homeless.
the economy is bad right now and everyones hungry for something wheather it be a job food clothes shelter etc
Not too much attention is given to this subject.
"Brevard is responsive and does food drives.
But with this economy, I know for a fact there are far more homeless / hungry people."
If you took the people who say they cannot provide enough food for their kids, more often than not, they are the same ones who smoke, drink and do drugs. Their priorities are not in order and as long as they receive handouts and not do for themselves, they never will!
food drives
Depends on where they encounter them. It was previously thought that if you were at Daily Bread for a meal you were there due to drug and alcohol abuse. Now people are starting to understand this could happen to them - due to the economy.
It is hard to tell sometimes. Some people are reactive to it and do what they can to help. Others try to ignore it.
don't know
Most likely turn their heads the other way. They don't want to know about it.
Believe they try to help where they can.
We donate food to help others less fortuneate!!!!!
I think for the people that have just fallen on hard times (the economy, loss of job, reduction in income, etc.) the community as a whole is very empathetic. For the people who have addictions and/or refuse to be a productive part of society the community is less compassionate.
Many try to help the situation.
People in the community who need food are very grateful to the people or organizations that provide him or her and their families food. There are many people who go hungry are very picky in what they want to eat or they prefer money given to them (where sometimes you don't know if they are using it for themselves or for drugs or alcohol.). In the America, there are many families go hungry but since we are a more fortunate country that the people who are really hungry are not taken serious because in third world countries like Africa where images are usually seen through TV and other forms of media. Normally, people are not generally helpful when it comes to people who are need because sometimes in most cases there are people who take advantage of the system and give a negative image to the ones who really need it.
Most are unaware. Needs to be put out there, right in front of peoples faces.
Compassionate and concerned
very responsive thru numerous out-reach programs to feed the hungry
"It's hard to really apply this across the board.
Some are very sympathetic and help the hungry and needy.
Others just shut their eyes and their hearts."
Many ignore them. Others believe they help via their church organizational contributions or via United Way and other such organizations.
When you see individuals on street corners and such with signs "hungry, please help", it's hard to determine whether they are truly hungry or just want money to get alcohol or drugs. I'm not sure if the community sees the hungry in any other way unless they actually visit a shelter.
There are many organizations and churches that help the hungry in our community. There are lots of good kitchens. There are community organizations where you can donate food items to their food pantry.
I believe most people are helpful
Supportive of drives, events to help others. I personally buy food for the local school that provides food for the children to take home for the weekend; donate food and money for the food banks; help where I can.
Some ignore it and thank God some people offer help.
Not well. The community ignores that is is really a situation. Hope you can make a diiference!
Differs, some donate, some don't.
Some pretend it isn't happening; others partner with a church or foodbank to donate food; our church has a food bank but it's only opened 1 day a week and sometimes we run out of food.
"In my community, I find especially among those who are snowbirds and who are comfortably retired and owning more than one residence, they are callous and self-aborbed.
We also have some residents who are on public assistance, including food stamps, but the parents seem curiously overweight and their children very thin. I think American parents on assistance, are largely unaware of good nutritional habits and wiser choices they could make for health sake, even with what little they receive.
Also, I have been on food stamp assistance for a few months years ago. As a single parent back then, I made healthy choices that did not include chips and sugary foods. Today, I earn a little too much to qualify for assistance, and therefore actually I have less money to budget toward food than those on food stamps--and I still manage to make wise choices for healthy eating.
I don't think throwing money at the hunger problem will solve hunger. Doing that is part of the larger problem of creating dependent, helpless citizens who become generationally on the dole--unable to learn how to work and feed themselves. Again, I do with less than those on food stamps, and I do just fine without letting big government rob me of my dignity and self-sufficiency. Emergency hand-outs--fine. Otherwise, focus on putting people to work--even volunteering. Or require them to perform community service in return for their food stamps. People don't appreciate what they do not earn. And that's a fact."
If it doesn't affect them personnaly, they don't care.
I cannot answer this question due that I have not had an opportunity to talk to people that are affected by hunger.
I think that people in this community are split half are caring and concerned and helpful. the others act like its contagious and look the other way.
Not sure.
People in our community should never have to go without food, as we have Food Banks that supply needy people who want food the accessibility to obtain food.
I don't know
The individuals that I know of who interact with the hungry are those that work with a Food Pantry program at my church. They feed hundreds of people on a weekly basis.
We have the different community groups, such like the Daily Bread, the Food Pantry, etc. Organizations such as United Way.
People who can afford to, will donate to charities that are assisting people or some may volunteer at a soup kitchen.
The community is looking @ the church to help towards the hungry.
usually very generously
Some, act as if it doesn't exist or won't help because they are judging why people are hungry. But, for the most part, people are willing to support the programs that feed the hungry and even supply food to folks when there is a need. Churches also provide food to the hungry.
Pull together and help if for a good cause, meaning not due to abuse of drugs, etc. if out of work due to injuries or layoffs we pay it forward and help.
Must of them apply for the welfare programs. (Food Stamps)
Overall this is a very "right-wing" community with people who have harsh attitudes towards the poor and hungry. However, I have seen many efforts by churches to help, but they cannot solve the problem on their own.
injuries/no job
bad economy
serveral of the people are looking for jobs but can't find work
They look more and more like us! It's VERY sad.
vol. @ a food pantry (HNJ St Vincent DePaul)all are treated very respectfully "
They want them moved out.
very generously.
I believe a number of those that go hungry in our community are homeless. Unfortunately, many in our society look down upon those without a home and therefore are unable to be compassionate about those that go hngry everyday.
They try not to think that it exist.
I see special fundraisers quite often.
I just saw a gentleman at the library rudely 'brush off' someone who asked for money for food. While church and social agencies continue to try to feed those who have a need, I believe there is still that prejudice toward people in need.
Always donating items to the food bank, schools, boy scouts drive, post office drive
Most people have a tendency to ignore it and hope it goes away. The problem is the number of homeless is growing in our area. The food banks don't even have enough food to accomodate everyone. The problem gets worse because people who are homeless regardless of the reason are less likely to find a job. If they do find a job they may not keep it since they have no real way to keep their clothing (or body) clean at the standard required for most jobs. The other problem is transportation to and from their work. I work with the homeless to get them food. A lot of people will give food or clothing but don't want to get to know any of the people who are out on the street. That would make it personal and people today do not want to get involved at a personal level even with people who are not in need. Today most people would rather text than talk on the phone. When it comes to the real problems in our society if it means getting a little dirty or giving a little time people will back away. They always say "someone should do something." They are absolutely correct. What they forget is that they are that someone who should do something. The people who are not hungry don't feel like it their problem. With the efforts to make it even harder for the undoccumented immigrants to find work or even get help the problem is growing at a rate much faster than there is a way to track. I work with it all the time in my spare time so I know the realities of the real world.
Appear unaware
They pretend they do not exist
I believe there is a lot of apathy in the community towards people that are going hungry. I think that most people don't think about it unless they specifcally know someone who is without food.
I see a lot of people who look down on those that are hungry. Usually those that are hungry are also not well bathed or they have dirty clothes, it seems to go hand in hand. It is a very sad situation working with these students @ the elementary school. There is also a correlation with hunger and lacking good grades, not always but a lot of the time.
Give to food banks and churchs, I will not give cash to someone standing on the corner. At least this way they can only obtain food and not drugs or alcohol.
ignore it.
They have food banks available.
they are ignored
Generally ignore them.
with help
There are many groups who dedicate time and energy to provide food for the hungry; others donate money to those groups. However, there are also others who are in denial about the hungry in our community.
We see homeless people on street corners asking for donations. You can see some donations being given, most often people don't.
We donate food to the food banks.
Not very nice.
ignore them, scared of them, some help
Our chuch has a food bank that is open every Thursday and I understand that there are lines when they open.
They give to help eliminate hunger. Food Bank, Daily Bread, Church and Charitable Organizations (such as United Way) assist the community to ensure the hungry is fed.
A few see the need to help the hungrey; many are not concerned about this issue at all.
They have pity on them or feel bad for them.
I think that most people look the other way but many donate to the food drives.
They try to help where and when they can. Nobody likes to be hungry.
"many don't notice if it doesn't impacy them personally
We do have some sharing centers and food banks."
It depends on the part of town; very negative in some areas and unsympathetic.
Many people help through community agencies.
I don't know
not well
Help with donation as much as they can
not enough people care unfortunately
Many of the people that are hungry on a daily basis may also have personal hygiene issues, dirty clothes, job problems, possibly homeless, visible drug or alcohol abuse problems, etc. These people can be outcasts, shunned and on the outer fringe of our society.
The community cares.
Lots of people do not like the homeless shelters being in their neighborhoods or hanging out near their businesses.
I think many people suffer in silence so other are unaware. Brevard county is unique in that there is a wide gap between the have and have nots and many people are unaware of how others in their community live day to day. If there was more awareness that would be more support for food banks and such to help hungry families.
By trying to assist by providing funds and nourishment.
They support community outreach programs that stock food pantries that people can access.
They ignore the fact that it exists in thier own neighborhood.
As the director of the Second Harvest Food Bank of Brevard 1 in 4 people are in need of food assistance based on our hunger study. For more info please refer to our website for that study.
They act like it is the person's fault and refuse to help them.
For the most part I think people who can help do. It needs to be talked about so people continue to contribute and reach out. It's kind of hushed I think.
I have no idea because I don't know anyone that is or that knows someone that is hungry
I would like to believe that they lend a hand.
My church has a food pantry. The members of my church weekly provide food to give to the hungry so the members of my community are very involved.
I believe most people help out when they can.
"I can't speak for others, but when I see some one in need I do my best to give them at few dollars. In my heart I hope they do the right ""things"" i.e. buy food...
Also, my Grandmother serves food to anyone who neeeds it Our Lady of Grace's soup kitchen every Friday at 12:00."
People that I know do there best to reach out and help with gift cards and food from their own cupboards.
Try to help out by donating food, money and time.
compassionately, but also fearfully
I do not believe people give as much as they could.
People in this community are very generous when it comes to food drives but hunger is not a visible problem in this area.
By ignoring it.
Collection of food for the community's food bank by the cub/boy scouts.
Help them out
Daily brread dalily meal.
Many will donate to help others in need.
I think people want to feel like they are willing to help and maybe even donate gfood, but I also believe most people in this community think hunger doesn't affect them personally
People in our community, I feel, do not think it is a problem, but I see it differently. I feel for the people and try to help those in need. I see it as a problem and something needs to be done to address the hungry.
They do not think its possible.
They tend to look the other way, because they would rather deny the truth.
Try to help through donations of food.
In general, I believe they try to support efforts to help-food drives, kitchens, service organizations, churches, food banks.
Some donate to food pantries: or buy food and give to someone they know needs it. Some people bring food to work and leave on a table for anyone who wants it.
many give generously
They try and collect can goods and other foods throughout the year through the schools, scouts and other companies to give to the food shelters.
I don't think they do enough for the unemployed and homeless. Especially the children.
I don't know
Some people don't always act kindly towards hungry people.
ignore the issues that are visibly in front of them
I believe most people ignore it because they feel that 90% of the time, it's the persons fault becuase they don't even try to get a job. They want society to take care of them.
If they were aware that students go without food over the weekend, they would probably work together to solve the problem. Several years ago, designated schools in communities offered free lunch throughout the summer.
Unfortunately, I don't think it's on the forefront of many people's minds.
I think there is pretty good size community outreach to those that are hungry. Many people I know, including myself, donate to food charities with either canned goods or money.
Some volunteer at soup kitchens and food banks as well as occasional food drives from organizations.
I think the community is supportive to a point. I think people become disinterested when the families are choosing priorities other than their children and basic needs.
Food Bank.
have food drives--help out local churches and food pantries--although this is becoming less as there are so many people suffering from the job shortages and low economy--and increased expenses
The supports available to the community need to be made known more. Also, the shroud of shame needs to be lifted. So many people are made to feel like they are failures if they can not provide for their families. When I had difficulties, many people told me that I should give up luxuries, the fact was I had no luxuries; student loan garnishment, gas, electricity, rent, water, insurance, my daughter's lunch money and phone took my entire check. I would turn the ac off and not eat on days my daughter was at her father's house. I do not recieve child support and can not afford a lawyer nor do I qualify to take someone who works under the table to court. Unfortunately, some people play the system and win while honest people are made to feel like garbage. Until this changes people will not be able to get the help they need. And the some of the people who are in the position to help are the ones who are playing the system.
We have various shelters and homes for the hungry and homeless.
I hope hey would act with compassion. Often on a Saturday when I do my shopping at our local Walmart, I see many homeless who claim they are hungry. I do not as a rule carry cash and so I often purchase cooked chicken, a salad and orange juice. In this I can atleast give them a healthy meal.
"There are food pantries and shelters but some people feel that they are not
Go to food bank
Sometimes they help and other times they are looked down apon as lazy.
they help
Most people seem to be afraid of the hungry because of their appearance. PEople don't really take time to get to know them personally and hear their story,
Concerned, but not always sure how to help out, except when organized food drives are held.
Shy away from them.
They try to help.
Not enough
I have no idea
Like there is something wrong with them.
ignore them
Some groups are generous and set up places to feed the hungry. Most other feel it is someone else's job to worry about.
By making contributions to agencies that give out food aid to those in need.
Soup Kitchen well supported. There are many "same lingering" non-helping themselves to better themselves that go there, though.
Communities do not want soup kitchens for the homeless built near their neighborhoods because of the drug problems, public nuisance, and trash.
help when made aware of condition.
I think they do not realize how close it is. Many help with donations to food banks.
compansionate; very supportive and giving community
We have food shelters, Church food pantries, CITA mission, Senior citizens meals on wheels, and other programs to help the underprevliaged
Helpful by helping stock food pantries
Some ignore - other contribute to the food banks...
People are willing to help others that are willing to ask for help and/ or keep trying to better themselves. People are less likely to help drug abusers, alcoholics, and the lazy.
Ambivalent, The problem is most of the homeless, hungry folks we encounter have alcohol, drug or need mental health care; the folks who really need the help probably do so in silence or follow the path to get the help they need.
I think that they have a blind eye to it and try to act that it doesn't exist.
There are organizations who help but many people are too proud to admit they need something to eat. So instead they go hungry. Most times, parents will give any food to their children and they go without.
Turn their heads
By food drives and other volunteering things.
Very compassionate... especially our church.
Some people have a heart, some are unwilling to believe, and some don't seem to care.
They give out foods during holidays and food drives
Most people try to help?
They don't believe it is an issue.
My observation has been that most people try to pretend that the hungry don't exist. Or they treat them like they have a disease that they are afraid of catching. It's a real shame. Because these are sapose to be god fearing people but they don't want to see the reality. We send so much food and money to other countrys and do nothing to take care of the people here at home.
mostly unknowledgeable. I don't think there is enough awareness of hunger in our community and I believe there is biased thinking that many are hungry because of addictions within families.
Lots of charitable donations to Churches and other non-profit organizations who operate food pantries for the poor. Donations to goodwill has increased and shopping at Goodwill stores have also increased in this down economy.
For the most part, if someone see a person hungry, they will try to help them in some form by giving them food or giving them money.
We have food pantry's at local schools and a homeless shelter that provides food.
Mostly they are ignored

What Types of Hunger Are We Dealing With?

Stomach hunger is experienced when the stomach becomes empty. Typically for most Americans, stomach hunger only lasts a few hours, because we have such an abundance of food sources and we just have to wait until we get home or buy something.

Those that don't have any money or food stored may eventually move on to Body Hunger. Body hunger can be dangerous and occurs when the whole body needs food because of famine or fasting. Body hunger will not dissipate with the passage of time. It persists because the body is deprived of nutrition. If no food is provided to the body, the body will draw food from within itself.

Body hunger is the main type of hunger that we are concerned about. Many people in Nigeria, America, and Spain have no choice but to go hungry because there is no food available to them.

What Causes Hunger?
We all know there is hunger in our world, but we also want to know what causes it and how can it be solved. Some times hunger results following a poor economy.

There are many job positions that are being laid off and eventually after their savings are depleted, these people can not afford the simple daily meal. When people have money issues such as being unemployed, they can't keep up with the bills and taxes. Therefore they lose their house and can't keep up with having to buy more food.

Some ways that Brevard is helping this cause is by giving kids free or reduced lunch and free breakfast. There is also local food banks, but the only problem is that the owners do not tell the people in need when the banks are open. So this causes them not knowing when to receive food. Something that we can do as middle school, is create our own food drive and maybe donate it the food banks or send them out to people in hunger. We can also raise money to just buy cheep food. Comment and tell me what you think about this idea!

• content authored
by Girls Get IT from Florida

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What Our Government is Doing
To Solve This Problem:
At my school, we have free breakfasts. I think that is wonderful. Most kids just do not have time to eat a full breakfast before they come to school. The free breakfast provides them with food in the morning every morning. And the best part of it is that it is free for everybody! Another thing the United States government is doing for the hunger issue is they also have an option for free or reduced lunches for those who qualify. This is also awesome because that option really helps families out.

Many adults also qualify for Food Assistance with vouchers to purchase groceries each week.

Who Are Other Groups Involved?
We became much more aware of Food Pantries found at local churches and synagogues. Not only do many of these religious organizations have food pantries but they also have benevolent funds that the pastor, rabbi, or priest can draw from to help hungry families or individuals. Sometimes they distribute gift cards or gas cards.

There are also halfway houses and crisis centers that assist homeless, peoples with addictions or those who are in crisis. Many of these are affiliated with religious organizations and encourage the participants to begin a recovery program and/or receive counseling.

How Are People Treated Differently?
People are treated differently in many ways, based on certain relations between people. Those who believe to be of a higher class carry themselves that way, and shun those that they think to below themselves to interact with. But, the fact of the matter is that we are all interconnected. Some people are treated with respect, but others are treated like dirt. This just plain wrong and demeaning. Some people feel sympathy towards these people, but what these people really need is support and jobs. Our government is sending jobs overseas, taking those needed jobs from the hungry. These are only some of the many ways in which people are treated differently.

What Can We Do About Hunger in our Community?
Although hunger is an issue that seems cannot be stopped, there are ways to help children and adults stop hunger. One big thing we can do in our community is a food drive. Food drives can be very effective, and can even be sort of fun to do in schools. Also, there are food banks in popular places to help the homeless get food. We can volunteer at this food banks to feed the hungry, while feeling good about helping the community as a whole.
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Our Communities Views
We wanted to find out exactly what our community thought about hunger. With our teacher's guidance we developed a Google Docs Survey that we deployed electronically to our school's parents and their friends. We talked about open-ended responses and quantifiable results that would be easier to summarize.

We had 227 responses to our survey!

At first we only had about 20 respondents, and our teacher told us that we really couldn't draw very strong conclusions from only 20 people. It would be like if you only asked a question two times from a crowd of 100 people, and you asked a if what their favorite meal was, you wouldn't have a complete picture of what all 100 people might say. We were very encouraged a week later when our survey respondents jumped to over 200 responses.

You can view a copy of the survey here:
South Brevard Hunger Survey

Responses to Our Survey:                    Age

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Most of our respondents were between 21 and 50 years of age (56%).

The next largest age group was 51 years and older- 89 or 39% of our respondents were from this group.

We haven't had a chance to look at how the responses might be different between different age groups yet, but we are very curious if they are different.

On a Scale of 1 to 10, How Hungry do You Think Our Community Is?
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Our teacher told us this was a very interesting distribution of responses. He said this was a classic bell curve. Our respondents were highest in the center of the 0-10 scale, so the average response was also nearly at the middle of the scale.

So the majority of the people responding to our survey felt that our community wasn't really hungry or really full?

On average, how many people do you know that are hungry?
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This was puzzling, nearly half (110) of our respondents said that they didn't know anyone that was hungry. And about one third only knew one or two people that could be described as hungry. Yet in the previous question the majority rated our community as moderately hungry.

It was also interesting that nearly 10% of our respondents knew at least 20 people that were hungry. Would that be approximately 5 families?

What is the biggest reason people go hungry in your community?
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This question was really important– we had discussed it a lot as a class, although it was only the opinion of the respondents, what people believe is important.

It addresses the question of WHY people are hungry. Although feeding people is important for those people that are hungry right now, it doesn't fix the problem tomorrow. People are more likely to help something that is a long-term solution.

170 (74%) of our respondents believed that cause of hunger in our community was related to income (food insecurity or joblessness).

Have you ever been hungry and not able to obtain food resources?
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This actually matched our county and national average, which led us to believe that our survey results were pretty accurate!

15% of our survey respondents said that they had been hungry… previous studies from United Way of Brevard County and the National Average estimated that 16% of our population were hungry.

I think it is possible to conquer hunger in our South Brevard Community. Those who rated it with a 1 Believed Absolutely!
5 meant
Not Likely!
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Our final chart was trying to figure out whether people in our community had much hope for solving the problem. Nearly half of our respondents (42%) had a very positive attitude and most of the respondents were more hopeful than not hopeful.

All Chart Images Generated By Google Docs from Original Survey created by Chloe, Karlee, and Tori of the Girls Get IT Club at Stone Middle School.