Programs Empower Kids to Help

AGLast week, we blogged about We Day, a Free the Children initiative that is meant to kick off a year-long plan of action. Two other programs, Project Give Back and Ryan’s Well, also empower children to have an impact. Each of these programs starts with inspirational stories of children who have made a difference and then provides specific training to enable participants to be effective in their own social action projects.

Project Give Back was started by Ellen Schwartz, founder of Jacob’s Ladder, an organization that promotes awareness and supports research for neurodegenerative disease. With Ellen’s experience as a fundraiser and an educator, Project Give Back is a “curriculum based program,” designed to complement a Grade 4/5 language arts curriculum. The program aims “to enhance responsibility and develop a deep seated feeling in one’s self to make a difference in the lives of others.” Students begin their project with Kidspiration, a presentation by a child who has made a difference in the world. Project Give Back participants then research a charity of their choice, plan and implement a fundraiser, and report their activities and results to the charity.

Ryan’s Well Foundation highlights the inspirational story of Ryan Hreljac, who was able to raise enough money to build a well in Uganda by the age of seven. The Foundation’s Youth In Action initiative is based on the belief that:

“Young people can and do make a significant difference in our world. . . . [and through the] program, students will see that they can become active and responsible citizens in their own communities and/or abroad by working cooperatively with their global brothers and sisters.”

Students participating in the program raise money to provide clean water to communities in need.

With the support and training of these programs, kids’ successes provide their own powerful message of empowerment and competence.  Check them out and see how you can get your kids and your schools involved.

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