By Ron Adams, Teacher and Acting National Director of ODWUSA
Yesterday, the Operation Days Work USA (ODWUSA) presentation delivered by four girls in grades 7 & 8 brought tears to the eyes of 31 teachers and school librarians who attended the “To Light the World” Conference at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. The kids explained how enormous the challenges are facing peers in countries like Zimbabwe where you do such incredible, life-saving work. To achieve this objective of discovering the huge discrepancy which exists globally in terms of where you are born, the students passed out charts listing the life expectancies of males and females in every country of the world.
The kids became the teachers.
The teachers became the students.
The kids asked teachers to find and list the statistics of the shortest life expectancies in the world. Many teachers listed Zimbabwe among the worst. Then, the students repeated the questioning by asking where in the world is the GDP the lowest? Where are the literacy rates the lowest by gender. The room became more solemn, more respectfully quiet as results were listed on chart paper and hung along a wall. Teachers faced that wall where the sad State of the World’s Children statistics was displayed.
To break the sadness, the students described the annual partnerships of hope and action that they form each school year to raise awareness and funds for organizations in those countries battling against incredibly overwhelming statistics of early death, hunger, exploitative child labor and shockingly low literacy rates, especially for girls.
Then they showed your video.
Many teachers had tears in their eyes, a few had tears rolling down their cheeks. The kids cried, too.
Lesson learned yesterday: no issue is too huge. There is always something we can do. Accepting the status quo is wrong! There is always hope.
Be part of hope.
The students’ one hour presentation honored organizations like yours with whom they partner, honored the U.S. students who join ODWUSA, honored the children they help each year in countries like Zimbabwe, Nepal, India, Burundi, etc., and honored the school communities which bond together each year in ODWUSA to raise awareness and funds to provide life changing aid to very vulnerable children.
The Kennedy Library graded them an “A.” I gave them an A+++++