Night of 1,000 Dinners is a global event that takes place between March 1 and April 4 to raise awareness on the global land mines crisis and to collect funds for mine action. All of the proceeds are used toward Adopt-a- Minefield mine action programs. Hosts throughout the world volunteer to organize dinners, joined by tens of thousands of individuals. Launched in 2001, N1KD events have been held in over 50 countries worldwide, offering participants a rare opportunity to contribute to solving a global problem. Adopt-a-Minefield is a public- private partnership between the UN, the UN Association of the U.S., and the U.S. State Department.
My fellow classmates and I were the hosts of a N1KD fund-raiser at the Evergreen Lake House on April 2nd, 2007. The sit-down dinner included ethnic foods from the six countries supported by Adopt-a-Minefield programs, namely Afghanistan, Bosnia, Croatia, Cambodia, Mozambique, and Vietnam. The 8th year students of MSE taught the audience about land mine issues using short videos, slideshows, and activity booths, all covering major topics such as mine risk education, survivors' assistance, and de-mining. We were delighted to have Rob Witwer, District 25 House Representative, as our guest of honor.
In order to spread land mine awareness throughout the Evergreen-Conifer community, we asked local store owners to hang shoes in their windows, symbolizing that an innocent civilian who steps on a mine doesn't need shoes. We wanted to sell gear in order to raise even more funds, so we came up with the acronym HEAL (Help Eradicate Anti-personnel Land mines). A student created a graphic that included a rose wrapped in barbed wire and a drop of blood falling from the rose like a tear.
Because every 22 minutes, someone, somewhere, becomes another anonymous statistic in the land mines chapter, I was excited about our efforts to support this worthy cause. Through the gear sales, the fund-raising dinner, and donations, we raised $7,000 for Adopt-A-Minefield.
For information or questions about the event, please contact the Montessori School of Evergreen at 303-679- 9065 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Kids for Kids Chandra Fernadez
As the Montessori Centennial drew near, there was such excitement within the Montessori community worldwide. Even as I preparing to mark this significant celebration, the grim shadow of Darfur was never too far from our thoughts. Images of starving and malnourished children haunted us. Dr. Montessori's 1947 message to all governments in the free world echoed in my mind.
I decided to find a way to celebrate the centennial in a manner that would be a fitting tribute to Montessori’s work and legacy. The project would not only celebrate Montessori education but would generate some funds to help the children of Darfur. What better way to do it quickly than to use illustrations from my book, Little Book of Peace, to design and sell a centennial calendar and to donate the profits to the children of Darfur?
I dove right in. With the help of my friends and Montessori colleagues, I released a limited edition of the Montessori Centennial Calendar, an eighteen-month calendar. At first, proceeds were donated to two international organizations that help children in developing countries, including Darfur. But I also wanted funds to be directed to an organization whose sole purpose was to make a difference in the lives of children in the Darfur.
Online, I discovered a British-based group, called Kids for Kids. I read everything I could find about them and began an e-mail exchange with the organization's chairman, Patricia Parker, MBE, the mother of a British diplomat to Khartoum. While on a visit to her son in Sudan, she traveled to Darfur and saw firsthand the devastation and misery in the villages where people still lived. It was clear that it wasn't only the people that were living in refugee camps who needed assistance.
As I researched this project further, I found a Montessori connection. Just as I was affected by the constant media reports of the plight of the children of Darfur, young Cassidy Donaldson, while still a six-year-old Montessori student, wanted to go to Darfur to help out with the crisis. When her parents informed her this would not be possible, Cassidy began to raise funds. She raised the first $105 through her school. Then she decided she didn't like "just asking people for money." Instead, she began to make cat toys out of scraps of leather given to her by a family friend. She has now raised several thousand dollars for Kids for Kids.
Kathy Donaldson, Cassidy's mother, says, "Our involvement with Montessori had a profound impact on this work of Cassidy's. She knew how to do research, to learn what she wanted to know, knew how to work through the process to achieve her goals. . . . But, to me, the most important thing is that I think she must know that she is a valuable citizen of the world, capable of making a real