Projects for your Action Group
Once your group has chosen an organization, set some goals. Below are actions you might want to consider for whatever organization you choose:
Get your childs school involved.
Peace is an issue that affects every child. Share some of the statistics in this book with your childs teacher and principal. Offer to create a service or peace project the school can participate in. More and more educators are seeing the value of getting kids involved in helping others, so your childs school might appreciate the help youre offering.
Also, tell your childs teacher and principal about peacemaking programs and curricula listed in the resource sections of this book, and if theyre not already teaching peace, strongly encourage them to do so.
Talk to the librarian at your childs school too. Ask her to order some of the books recommended at the end of each chapter.
Get you childs religious education program or scouting group involved.
Every major religion has compassion at its core, and what better way of expressing care for others than by reaching out to help. So many projects recommended in this book would be a perfect adjunct to a Sunday school or scouting program.
Get your PTA involved.
All of the issues we have talked about in this book affect the worlds children. PTAs are about kids, not just about schools. What more wonderful way to expand the reach of PTAs than by involving them in some of the projects in this book.
Build public awareness.
Many people dont take action simply because they are not aware of how pressing some of these problems are. Or they simply dont know what to do to help. Create an evening where you can share information, provide a speaker, and allow for questions and answers. This is also a wonderful opportunity to expand your group or help others begin one of their own. Have a sign-up sheet available and request everyones e-mail address. This way, even if they dont sign up to join a Race to Peace Group, you can stay in touch and let them know about activities your group sponsors. Building awareness is a fundamental step in the Race to Peace.
Get your church, temple, or mosque involved.
What better way to spread good will than to have your place of worship reach out to the larger world in an effort toward peace. Join with another congregation to work on a project together. In fact, join with a congregation of a different religious persuasion. In the Special Resource Section at the end of this book youll meet an Imam of a Mosque who has joined with all the religious leaders in his community to sponsor interfaith services every Thanksgiving. He also talks about pulpit exchanges where kids speak at different places of worship to help people build greater a understanding of each others faiths. Try doing something like this in your place of worship.
Every organization you have read about needs two kinds of support -- people-power and donations. Hold a carwash, bake sale, raffle, art show, talent night, or carnival to raise money for the organization you choose to help. Make your fundraising efforts ongoing. See how creative you can be in coming up with new ideas.
Fill a Pressing Need
Build a school or hospital in Africa. Kids Can Free the Children has already built hospitals and three-hundred schools in twenty-three third world countries, and this is an organization almost entirely staffed and run by kids! Contact them and find out how you can do this too. Everything youll need to know to get started is listed Chapter 8. Can you imagine your efforts saving lives? Its actually possible to do this. Start now.
Engage in Direct Service
When I interviewed Connie Mercer, Director of Homefront, she talked about many things people like us can do to help people who are struggling to get on their feet. She said, A father I know who lost his job and home due to illness is finally getting back on his feet. His family now has a place to live, he has a job, and he was recently able to get a car but he cant drive it because he cant afford to pay for car insurance. I wish there was an angel out there who could write a check. Think of the thousands of dollars we spend going out to dinner and to the movies. Imagine foregoing these activities and writing the check that would change somebodys life. Youd be performing a real miracle.
Find out what who needs a miracle and what you can do to help. If youre not sure how you can help poor people in your area, go the the National Coalition for the Homeless website.
Make a Childs Dream Come True
One guidance counselor I interviewed told me about an extraordinary child in her school who is an outstanding student, but barely has enough clothes to wear. This counselor brings in clothing for her on a regular basis. Think about the huge wardrobes so many of our children have. If we could spend just a fraction of that money on new clothing for a child in need, wed be performing another real-life miracle. Call the local chapter of Catholic Charities or Jewish Family Services. Or call your childs school and see if there are any children in need you can anonymously donate to. Also, ask your local homeless organization or food bank. Almost every county has one. Youll be shocked when you see how many children right in your own area are in need of the basics.
Its a gift to be able to help a child who, with a little extra support, could make it in life. A helping hand in a time of need makes all the difference in the world. Contact your local homeless organization and see if you can help a child whos struggling in school. Your involvement could be a turning point in his life.
Start a letter Writing Campaign
Massive social change comes first from the voices of the people. The abolition of slavery, womens right to vote, ending discrimination -- all of these were the direct result of people like you who refused to accept the status quo.
Organize a letter -writing campaign about the issues that most concern you
Call and e-mail. Legislators really do listen to the voices of their constituents -- they want to be re-elected. Use your voice and have your children use theirs. These websites will tell you how to reach your senators and congressional representatives:
Help Coordinate the Race To Peace
I know there are wonderful administrators out there reading this right now. There are also people who have the resources and talents to make the Race to Peace into an international theme. To you I say this: If you feel the spark start now. Create an event. Invite rock stars and luminaries from all over the world to promote The Race to Peace as a unifying global theme. Lets give them the opportunity to use their talents for the betterment of humanity. Bono of U2 is already doing this . Time Magazine (March, 2002) reported that he has become a powerful force in ending hunger and poverty in Africa -- he felt the call and decided to answer it.
One of you reading this right now is saying, Maybe its me. If youre thinking these words, then it is you. Step up to the plate. Use your gifts to make the Race to Peace a household word. Use your networking abilities to make the Race to Peace as familiar as Starbucks or Nike. Use your power to make the Race to Peace something we can actually win while theres still time.
Imagine Race to Peace bumper stickers, billboards, posters, and commercials. Imagine a Race to Peace theme song -- one that could potentially become as familiar as We Are the World. Imagine Race to Peace marches, conferences, symposia, and a documentary highlighting this growing grassroots movement. Imagine a Million Parent March. Imagine making all this happen.
If these words speak to you, step up to the plate.
Copyright © 2002 by Naomi Drew. All rights reserved. Site Map