Kids Can Make A Difference

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This YouTube video from One.org shows kids quoting the all-too-familiar laments / excuses people often use when claiming that efforts to reduce suffering don't really work. Hearing these words from the mouths of children is especially moving, but even more moving is the switch from cynicism to a message of hope, with details on real results, what spending just 1% of the US budget can do to change the world. 

  • 15 million children, who would have died, are alive
  • 46 million children, who would never have seen a classroom, are in school

Having these statistics, proof that money and time spent on reducing poverty, hunger, and disease locally and around the world, and increasing access to health care and schools can and does make a difference, is a powerful tool.This is a great video which we hope goes viral. But, beyond just feeling good about the message, we also hope people are inspired to learn more and take action.

We've got great resources to help people of all ages do just that plus we'd like to lift up one special organization that is demonstrating in a most compelling way the incredible difference one dollar can make. Plus, we'll lift up an organization that is working to reduce the cynicism and negative messaging with which children are bombarded every day. We need our kids to have high self-esteem and positive attitudes, knowing that they are great for who they are and they have amazing powers to change the world.

Kids Can Make A Difference: This is an AMAZING resource for teachers and others who work with young people. It goes way beyond introducing the concepts of hunger and activities kids can engage in to make a difference. Instead, it delves into the root causes of hunger and poverty around the world, holding no punches as it examines colonialism, gender issues, the vast difference between the haves and the have-nots, developing versus industrialized nations and their lifestyles (over-consumption versus barely surviving). Combine this with Teaching Economics As If People Mattered, 25 Math Investigations that Will Astound You, the Poverty Project and Real Lives and you've got the ultimate package of world-changing education.

We first discovered this wonderful book when we were working with a national homelessness organization, putting together lesson plans to teach kids about homelessness. Through that we got into the promotion of "service learning" and from there we discovered the Kids Can Make A Difference Organization (kidscanmakeadifference.org).

Larry Levine and his wife, Jane Finn Levine, are the heart and soul of KIDS and you couldn't find a more devoted pair! They've helped so many teachers and kids learn about and do something about hunger directly through workshops and seminars - plus their ongoing newsletter. We're so pleased that they have allowed us to offer our customers this book.

Doing Good Together: Is your organization looking for service project ideas? An increasing number of schools, workplaces, and organizations are doing family service projects as a way to make positive change in their communities. The 101 projects in Doing Good Together answer this growing demand for family service with hands-on projects focused on easing poverty, promoting literacy, supporting the troops, helping the environment, and more.

Each of the 101 self-contained family service projects provides an overview, time requirements, materials list, step-by-step instructions, debriefing questions, recommended books to help kids and teens do or learn more, and ideas for extending the activity.

Youth Community Service Curriculum: We've worked with Youth Community Service for many years now and have always been amazed at the incredibly well developed programs they have led where students discover their passion for making the world a better place, create an action plan to actually do something, and then work with community organizations and individuals to turn their plan into reality. All the while these students are also improving their educational outcomes in math, science, civics, reading, the arts, and more.

Now, YCS has taken years of experience, combined with some of the best practices and successful projects from other organizations, and put together a month by month service learning after-school curriculum. Everything you need to apply the very best practices of service-learning with proven projects and learning materials is combined in this terrific single volume. Whether you apply the month-by-month strategy or just pick and choose from among the dozens and dozens of unique project ideas, you'll find this to be one of the most valuable resources on any bookshelf.

One Dollar for Life: What if a school could order everything needed to carry out a campaign to raise money to build a school somewhere in the world,  with asimple message to all the kids in that school that all it took was ONE DOLLAR to make a huge difference in people's lives? And by the way, everything needed comes in a single box! That's what One Dollar For Life (odfl.org) has to offer. 

The photo here is from a Nicaragua trip. This Summer Service Trip in July 2013 was the fourth trip ODFL has organized to Nicaragua to help with construction of one of its schools. The trip included home stays, work on the school, recreation, and many opportunities for cultural exchange between U.S. and local students. 

ODFL helps US high schools manage fund-raisers, aggregate their monies, identify qualified NGOs and worthy projects, and oversee the projects’ implementation in developing countries.  Here's a quick video to help tell ODFL's story.


Raise Awareness, Raise Our Voices, and Make A Difference

The kids at the very beginning of this story echoed the cynicism we encounter, raised our awareness of the truth that we CAN make a difference. The children called on viewers to raise their voices and then go out and make a difference. Our goal at Reach And Teach is to help spread that kind of awareness, empower people to raise their voices, and then go out and make a difference. The first and often most important thing is knowing that we can truly create change. But sometimes, before we can do that, we have to believe in ourselves.

Shaping Youth: Turn on the TV, listen to the radio, open a magazine, head to the theater, and the messaging aimed at children is overwhelming. You're no good unless you look a certain way, act a certain way, eat certain kinds of foods, consume, consume, consume... These messages are anything but empowering. ShapingYouth.org is working to flip those messages. 

Here's how founder Amy Jussel describes their mission:

Shaping Youth's mission is to shift negative influences of pop culture to a healthier worldview for kids.

We're implementing innovative programs for parents and kids (via film, web, mobile, hands-on education, & enrichment) to build awareness and promote healthier values by using the power of the media turned on itself.

Our self-funded, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization changes the channel of influence using entertainment tactics to impart informal learning three ways:

1.) Embedding positive behavioral cues inside media itself (pilot testing within virtual worlds, social media, gaming, mobile media)

2.) Eliciting content accountability/change from industry producers (advocating via social media on Twitter, blog, multi-channel platforms w/partners etc.)

3.) Counter-marketing harmful messages with media literacy (instilling awareness, critical thinking and vital youth inquiry via fun, hands-on "M-power" edu-game format)

Reach And Teach shares many of ShapingYouth.org's posts because we believe that media literacy is one of the keys to empowering people, young and old, to believe in themselves for who they are, not who they ought to be based on the latest commercial. And we know for a fact that when people come together and demand change, even from the most powerful media forces, change can and does happen. The web site is a treasure trove of information, incredibly well researched and compellingly presented. Click here to visit the site and then bookmark it!

Kids can make a difference, but it is up to adults to create an environment in which kids can flourish and diiscover each of their unique talents, and apply themselves to their passion. Please help spread the positive news that our money and efforts are making a difference. Share this post with friends and family on Facebook, tweet about it, email it to folks around the block and around the world. AND, please tell us about great resources, organizations, stories, that also need to be amplified so that together we can continue to transform the world through teachable moments.




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