Every day in classrooms, communities and homes across the U.S., kids step up to help other kids in need. Marshalling all that energy UNICEF Kid Power has saved 52,000 lives of severely malnourished children around the world, proving that though children be young, they can make a huge difference. Here are a few more who just this week took meaningful action we wish to celebrate:
Getting active to feed kids: Kindergartners and fourth-graders at Sandy Hill Elementary in Jenison, Mich., are stepping up to solve a pressing problem kids from low-income families face across the nation. Thanks to free or reduced meals they eat at school, children who often do without at home can stay healthy and fortified to learn. But if food on the table is scarce at home, on weekends they may go hungry.
According to Hand2Hand, a West Michigan organization fighting childhood hunger, 1 in 5 Michigan children face of the possibility of going without a meal.
To help, 100 students and teachers recently packed up 500 bags of food filled with milk, cereal, and granola bars. The primary goal is to help kids who might miss out on eating over the weekend, but kindergarten teacher Myra Baine recently told Wood TV that showing students how to solve real world problems is important too. “We’re hoping to start a little fire in them.”
So far it seems to be working.
“I like doing this kind of stuff. I enjoy helping others I don’t know. It’s fun for me,” said fourth-grader Tatum Brancheau, who knows her classmates feel the same. “When they hear that someone else isn’t getting what they have, they want to help.”
Portraits in friendship: For two years now Waterford High School students have been paying a special tribute to kids who have very little to call their own with the help of the Memory Project.
Since 2004, the Memory Project has been sending photos of children living in some of the world’s toughest places to art students in the U.S., who use them to create drawings and paintings of the children pictured. Once finished, the portraits are sent back to the children as gifts with messages from the artists.
This year, the school received photos from Haiti, where children are still living with great deprivation after Hurricane Matthew leveled its southern coast in October 2016.
“Many of these children we paint portraits for have lost all of their personal possessions, either through natural disasters, earthquakes, floods, they’ve lost their homes, they’ve lost everything” said Shelly Concascia, an art teacher at Waterford High Schoo, recently told WTNH.
“I hope when they open it up, they feel someone cares about them and that there are people out there looking out for them,” student portraitist Mikayla Brucoli
So far, students working with the Memory Project have created more than 100,000 portraits for kids in 43 countries. Among them are Syrian refugee children living in Jordan, who Memory Project Founder Ben Schumaker wanted to send a message. “We wanted to communicate to them that while others in the world might choose fear, we choose friendship. We want to pull together rather than apart.”
That’s the Waterford students’ intention as well. “I hope when they open it up, they feel someone cares about them and that there are people out there looking out for them,” said student Mikayla Brucoli.
Birthdays for all: Columbus, Oh., sisters Campbell and Paisley Barber recently ripped open dozens of boxes of presents that arrived at their doorstep. The girls were thrilled to find Paw Patrol cups, napkins and other party supplies inside. Neither of them has a birthday coming up, but there are lots of Ohio kids who do whose parents can't afford to throw them a party, so they're stepping up.
"One day on the news we saw that homeless people don't get Birthdays," Camie recently told Columbus’ 10TV. "And we thought that we should like to throw birthday parties for them."
So, the sisters began collecting birthday supplies. And so far, according to 10TV, they've collected tons of supplies to donate to Brightening Birthdays. Established by Volunteers of America, the program gives Columbus and Sandusky area children something the two sisters believe every kid deserves.
"Any kind of age, you should be cared and loved," said Paisley. "People should always, like, wish you happy birthdays."