Environmental Health News

What's Working

  • Garden Mosaics projects promote science education while connecting young and old people as they work together in local gardens.
  • Hope Meadows is a planned inter-generational community containing foster and adoptive parents, children, and senior citizens
  • In August 2002, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board voted to ban soft drinks from all of the district’s schools

Kids Can Make a Difference

According to the World Watch Institute, the global community harvests enough grains to meet the minimum nutritional requirements for every child, woman, and man in the world. Despite this abundance, hunger continues to plague an estimated 841 million people, and every day around the world some 34,000 children under five die from hunger or from hunger-related illnesses. (Bread for the World) Clearly we cannot eradicate hunger overnight; is there some way we can fight hunger while encouraging our children to carry on the fight after us? There is, by incorporating the Kids Can Make a Difference program into our school curriculum.

Kids Can Make a Difference (KIDS) is an educational program for middle and high school students that focuses on the issues of hunger and poverty. The program looks at the root causes of these problems, looks at who is most affected by them, and, most importantly, teaches young people how to make a difference in the fight against hunger.

There are three major components of the KIDS program. First, KIDS offers an innovative teacher’s guide, which has been used in public schools, after school programs, home schools, and local food banks. The guide is designed to be uplifting and engaging while teaching children about what hunger and poverty are and why they continue despite our global abundance. Perhaps the most important aspect of the KIDS guide is its focus on helping students take constructive action to combat hunger and poverty. The guide offers lessons on how to conduct surveys, write letters, and give testimony to legislators and policy makers about issues that young people are concerned with.

The other two components of the KIDS program are a quarterly newsletter and the KIDS website. The KIDS Newsletter supports the classroom program, highlighting current hunger issues and student initiatives to combat hunger. The articles in the newsletter are written by students, teachers, and other concerned parties, and the newsletter is distributed to over 2,500 schools, after school programs, and food banks/pantries. The KIDS website is designed to educate visitors about hunger and to support student activism. The website includes a “What Kids Can Do” page where young people can come for ideas about how to get involved in the fight against hunger and poverty. The page includes highlights of what students from around the nation have done to combat poverty and hunger in their communities; for example, when a Chicago community health clinic was threatened with closure, fifty children organized a protest in front of the clinic, which drew the attention of lawmakers and the media and averted the clinic’s closure.

Through the KIDS classroom program, newsletter, and website, young people learn through first-hand experience that kids really can make a difference.

Contact Group: Kids Can Make a Difference (KIDS)

Address: 1 Borodell Avenue
Mystic, CT 06355

Phone: 860-245 3620

Fax: 860-245 3651

Email: kids@kidscanmakeadifference.org

Web site: http://www.kidscanmakeadifference.org/