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E. Friendship Through Education

STORIES FROM NORTH AMERICA

Salina
Co-President, Greater Princeton Student Chapter
New Jersey USA
People to People International


If I could relive the experience I had at People to People Internationalís Global Youth Forum, I would do so in a heartbeat. In October of 2002, I had the privilege and opportunity of attending this conference and cultivating lasting friendships with people from around the world. I remember being really nervous as I first stepped off the plane in Kansas City and wondering what I would learn and what type of people I would meet. Nonetheless, within minutes, I had already met some of the most amazing individuals I have ever known. There was never a dull moment, and right away I began to realize how fortunate I was to listen to these speakers and understand and analyze their viewpoints about the world. We learned ways to become effective leaders and discussed with some of the most prominent individuals how our culture is changing and the context in which we need to develop and grow to effectively manage and lead society. I was able to understand the role I played and how I could contribute and make a difference in the world; and became deeply inspired to work to make a difference. Through Dr. Colin Jonesís speech, I became intensely aware and inspired by the fact that even one person can make a difference; every seemingly small act one does can positively affect an individual. Through a panel discussion with Ambassadors to Slovakia and the Middle East, I learned the inherent and imperative need for peace, and the role of the government in connecting and leading its people to define and create their own beliefs. Through these conferences I learned that the true makings of a leader begins within: the moral judgment and values one places on himself; it is then is followed through with effective communication, strong ideas, and unwavering belief in these ideas.
 

The students I met at the conference inspired me to reach out and make a difference and I think that one of the most important ideas I took away from the forum is that if I can just impact one life, then I have made a difference in the world: no matter how small the act may seem, it is a huge difference to one person. I made many friends whose interests inspired and taught me. When I came back, I decided to fully apply all that I had learned and the amazing experience I had just been given by starting a student chapter. Currently, our chapter is working on a shoe drive for orphans and children in Haiti. My experience at the Global Youth Forum ranks as one of the most amazing opportunities in my life and I had the chance, I would make every effort to attend again.

Piya
Co-President, Greater Princeton Student Chapter
New Jersey USA

People to People International


If ten years from now somebody would ask me what one of the best experiences I had in high school was, People to People's 2002 Global Youth Conference would definitely be at the top of that list. I can honestly say that I have never had so much fun on a trip. I met so many different people and experienced many things that most people never get a chance to do. I sat in front of a panel of United States Ambassadors and had the opportunity to ask them any question that I wanted. I met and talked with Mary Jean Eisenhower, Dr. Colin Jones from South Africa, the Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of State Lincoln P. Bloomfield Jr., and a very memorable former member of British Parliament- Sir Andrew Bowden. I listened to an exclusive jazz concert that featured the best of Kansas City Jazz and I gained lasting friendships with many people from around the United States and the world.
 

But, most of all the Global Youth Conference gave me the confidence and experience to talk and relate to the influential and -perhaps more importantly- the non-influential people of the world. I learned to just go up and talk to someone, not caring where they are from. The atmosphere of comrades persevered throughout the conference and it is the one of the most memorable aspects of the trip. The conference also gave birth to the creation of the Greater Princeton Chapter of People to People. At the Global Youth Forum I linked up with the co-founder of the chapter and together we created a new chapter that now has over 35 members and is currently working on a shoe drive for the Haitian people. If asked to participate in another Global Youth Forum I would make every effort to attend.

 

Students (15 Years old)
Virtual High School
Lewin Project (i-EARN)

Forks High School
Forks Washington, USA

Hello Dear Friends from Lewin- In March I had my students take a 'field trip' to your site, and I thought you might enjoy some of the responses. I'll post one students here and in time, I hope to post more as replies to this post.

Oh no!!! Wait for me!!! This place is so cool, and really easy to get around in. May I say, from my artistic view, that the drawings are fantastically drawn! I really like the one with the river, fish, sun, rainbow, doves and mountains, but that's not my favorite. My favorite drawings would have to be the Christmas pictures by Bordertown Primary School; you just have to love little kids' cute drawings. I read a lot of pieces, *a lot,* and I found one that I can really relate to. It's from School #130, Novosibirsk, and the piece is spectacular. It's called, "My Day, My Life," and I'm sure everyone can relate to it somehow. The first two paragraphs are exactly the way I think in the morning, except for thinking five degrees in not cold- BRRRR! I really enjoyed reading other people's writing, especially the poems. I hope that everyone enjoyed the field trip, and I hope we can come and visit again.

Eric
Prior Lake High School (15-19)
Prior Lake, MN
SOS Project (i-EARN)

Recognizing the importance of supporting the youth of Afghanistan, students in Mr. Serbus' first and second hour economics class at Prior Lake High School organized and held an in-school telethon to raise money for the Afghanistan Children Fund, which was created by President George Bush. Students at Prior Lake High School not only wanted to send financial support to the children in Afghanistan, but they also wanted to send the message that the next generation of Americans wants to develop a relationship of friendship and support with the next generation of Afghans. This message was clearly relayed through the in-school telethon held on November 2nd. During the course of the 40 minute telethon over $1,500 was raised to help support the children in Afghanistan. Ultimately, three teachers shaved their heads - Mr. Matheney (assistant principal), Mr. Volm (science teacher), and Mr. Serbus (economics teacher). The telethon was an extraordinary event that raised awareness and support for the children in Afghanistan.

Sacred Hearts School (3 - 9 years)
Labaina, HI
 

We have developed a classroom web-site. We write to family and friends around the world and get people to visit our site and sign our guest book. We are corresponding with a class in Santiago, Chile.

Crafton Elementary (4th, 5th, & 6th Grade)
Pittsburgh, PA
 

We, at Crafton Elementary School, have begun an email and postal exchange with Muslim students in Kuwait. Our Fourth grade class has created an American Flag with their handprints, which we plan to send to the American School of Kuwait for their students. We also plan to send them some 60/70 handwritten letters from our students. Our mission is to enable our students to realize that we are a kind, compassionate nation, which has friends all over the world. We are teaching them to embrace and celebrate diversity.

Jennifer
Cohoes Middle School (8th Grade)
Cohoes, NY
SOS Project (i-EARN)

After talking about the country of Afghanistan, locating it on a map and learning about the hardships the children face, the students in my Special Education class planned and held a bake sale to raise money for President Bush's fund for Afghan Children. They first made an appointment with our Principal, Mr. Dragone, to ask permission to hold the sale. We then purchased the ingredients, baked the "goodies" and sold them during our school lunch times. We then composed a letter to accompany our check.

Steelviille R-3 Middle School (12-15)
Steelville, MO
(e-pals)

Class Activity:
My classes have been emailing and sending snail mail to our pal classes. After the events of 9-11, we made fast contact with our pals in all of the countries. My students were overwhelmed that our pals were concerned for us. The other teachers told us about the news reports in their countries, and we compared. My students' comment: it is nice to know that we have friends out there! Our classrooms are exchanging travel buddies (small stuffed animals) who will make the trip to the pal classes, as a tourist. That buddy will take photos, keep a journal, and make friends. At the end of the year, we will send the buddies back to their home country and will learn from the photos and journals. Small gifts to the other classes will be included. My 8th grade will learn about the American Revolution from two viewpoints-ours and Great Britain's! These students have already learned that as much as we are different, we are SO alike! The world is a much smaller place for these kids, thanks to having pals in other countries. On my trip to Europe this summer, I am to visit with several of these teachers, and have photos taken, together. The personal connection is thus made stronger!

Morris Area Elementary School (6 & 7 year olds)
Morris, MN
 

First grade students in Pam Solvie's class use postal mail, email, and videoconferences to communicate with students at Shimizu Elementary School in Osaka, Japan under the direction of Yoko Takaya. Information on food, weather, holidays, and home and school experiences are shared. Students ask questions and respond to questions about each of the above topics. Books are also sent, via postal mail, as gifts to students in Morris, Minnesota, U.S.A. and Osaka, Japan, from each other!

West Milford Elementary School (Third Grade)
WV
 

I am Counselor at West Milford Elementary School. I was doing Character Education in the Third Grade. I was doing a project sent to me by Big Brother/Big Sister. I had the children draw their hand and then color it. When they were complete I showed all the hand to the students and asked them what their thoughts were. They told me the hands were different sizes, different colors, different shapes, and had different "features". I asked them to tell me something different. They told me that they were all hands! I then had the opportunity to discuss with them how we as "a people" are like the hands that they had completed. What a beautiful coincident!

Cannelton Elementary School (3rd Grade)
Cannelton, IN
Kids Share Hope Project (Global Schoolhouse)

Cannelton Elementary Students
- from Cannelton, Indiana ( a small rivertown school) found that the "Kids Cope By Sharing Hope" project, sponsored by Global Schoolhouse (www.globalschoolnet.org ) was a very rewarding experience. They felt that they were sharing hope with other children who were effected by the Sept. 11 disaster (this could be children from here in the USA to children anywhere in the world) and that gave them something very positive to be doing that helped to take their minds off of being worried or scared themselves! They sent Hope messages and drew Hope drawings from Sept.19-Sept. 24 to Kids Share Hope. Our students also enjoyed reading the messages found there as well. It is wonderful to see how many students have responded and from so many different places around the world! We plan on staying active in this idea and would love to be involved in any other project that will support the Friendship in Education ideals!

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