What does a child need to be safe and healthy and to develop to his or her full potential?
This is not an easy question to answer, but who better to ask than children?
Dr. Sara Young (an instructor from UMass) and I spoke last week with elementary students from the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Public Charter School in Hadley, MA. We introduced them to UNICEF, its work with children around the world, and how they can take action through Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF and other opportunities.
|U.S. Fund for UNICEF/2009|
|David discussing with students of the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Public Charter School about UNICEF’s work and what they can do to help children just like themselves around the world.|
We started our discussion by first asking: What does a child need to be safe and healthy, and to develop to his or her full potential? Some of the many answers that the students gave were: clean water, play, apples, vegetables, medicine, shots, sleep, mom to help with homework, my big brother, school and books.
These answers allowed for a deeper discussion about how many children around the world have these things, but some do not. We then asked:
What can you do to help children around the world?
Students responded by suggesting they donate food, clothing and toys. One child suggested that we participate in Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, which I was excited about. We agreed that fundraising and donating were two important ways they can take action. We also discussed how they could take action by reading, listening and discussing these issues with their friends, teachers and family. Volunteering with the support of an adult or expressing their opinion to their principal or elected official, were other ideas that were later generated by the students.
Although this is just one school in the United States, I think it is fair to say that many youth are interested in learning about children around the world and taking action to support their local and global communities.
For tips on how you and your students can take action both locally and globally please visit
http://youth.unicefusa.org/teachunicef/service-page-test.html, http://volunteers.unicefusa.org/ and www.learnandserve.gov.