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Kids for Kids: Chandra's Work

Chandra Fernadez

Resources for Support Projects

Nancy Hofer

Taking Action

Each year in October, a group of middle school students from the United States and other countries meet in New York City to learn about the work of the United Nations and how to effectively support humanitarian causes. This meeting, the 2002 idea of Dr. Ruth Selman, NGO/DPI representative to the UN from the American Montessori Society, is called the Global Citizens Action Project (GCAP). According to the article, "Teaching Inventive, Forward Thinking, Big-Picture Capacities," from Middle Ground, a journal published by the National Middle School Association, middle school students are "a group of young people who have more on their minds than music, video games, and clothes. Students wonder about poverty, waste, world affairs, war, religion, the power of love, and the love of power." (Feb. 2008)

Featured below are several of the humanitarian organizations that have been represented at GCAP. We hope this list will serve as a resource for schools to begin outreach work. Also included in this newsletter is an article, written by a student, about an event the students at her school organized to support Adopt-a-Minefield, just one of the infinite number of ways to assist people in need.

Chandra Fernandez, whose work has been featured in the Peace Seed Connection (PSC) before, has been working on a project called "Kids for Kids," and an article about her work with them is also featured here.

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From Tourism to Activism: Night of 1,000 Dinners at the Evergreen Lake House Emma L. Stubbs, Montessori School of Evergreen (Evergreen, CO)

"When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers." —African proverb

As a little girl, I wanted to travel the world. I dreamt of seeing the highest mountain, the tallest building, and the biggest lake. But the number one place at the top of my list was New York City: the lights, the Empire State Building, Times Square, and yellow-colored taxicabs filling the streets.

For the past three years, my school, Montessori School of Evergreen (MSE), has offered six students the chance to attend a three-day conference on the United Nations in New York City. I was turned down once, but this year I was amongst the finalists. I was excited to visit the UN. But I was going to NYC, and that was initially the biggest part of it for me.

Our hotel was right in the middle of Times Square (first wish granted). I was hoping this trip would be filled with a couple of enjoyable lectures and a whole lot of sightseeing. Little did I know that one of the UN speakers would spark my interest in something much larger than New York.

The topic was land mines, presented through a very moving and thought-provoking slideshow. The speech triggered many more questions than any other presentation. I was hooked! I knew I had to go home and share what I had learned with as many people as possible.

Once back at school, my project partner, Ryan Singer, and I put together a presentation on land mines for the elementary and middle school students. Each time we talked, our audience ended up flabbergasted and in awe.

However, I was struggling with a dilemma: I had been talking about the Mine Ban Treaty and how important it was; yet my country, the United States, had not signed it. Yet, the U.S. is one of the most generous providers of land mine assistance. I just had to delve some more into the problem. After extensive research, Ryan and I decided to take our concern for this issue to the next level. That's where Night of 1,000 Dinners (N1KD) came in.

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