“Making a Difference in our World a Little Bit at a Time” is the motto of one small group of dedicated 3rd, 4th & 5th grade students and 3 staff members at Manitou Park Elementary School. It all started about seven years ago when Earla Reed, a fourth grade teacher at the school in Tacoma, WA., saw an application for starting up a club on Oprah Winfrey’s website. Mrs. Reed thought that having a club which was centered on making the world a better place, would be a wonderful focus for students. Happily, the school was selected to start a club. This is the seventh year for Manitou Park O Ambassador’s Club.
The O Ambassador’s Program is an international program originally sponsored by Oprah’s Angel Network and Kids Can Free The Children. The purpose of our O Ambassador’s Club is to encourage sustainable solutions to global challenges through active learning, idea sharing, and by positive involvement in our community. We focus on learning about the United Nation’s four Millennium Goals: poverty, health, education and sustainable development.
Over the years, the club has emphasized conserving resources, learning about the overabundance of plastics in the environment, and “greening your routine.” The group applied for and was awarded a grant that brought in 2 guest speakers, one of which was a young man from Congo, West Africa who had been captured and forced to be a boy soldier. He shared his story with the students and told them about how difficult life is for people in other parts of the world. He emphasized how every little thing we do for children in other countries, such as Africa, can make a BIG difference. Things like providing clean water, or building a school. Where he came from, getting an education is the primary desire of most children, because they know that an education is their way to a better life. That was the same message shared by Wilson & Jackson; The Last Maasai Warriors who visited Manitou this school year.
With that in mind, our club has raised money to help build a secondary school in the community of Domeabra, in Ghana, West Africa. O Ambassador’s sponsored the sale of “Val-O-Grams” (personal notes delivered to friends and classmates with a lollipop attached) each February which raises approximately $400.-$500. In May, they will hold their 7th annual Walk-A-Thon with proceeds going to their adopted village in Ghana. The club will sell paper “shoes” for $1.00 each (promoting the theme: Walk in Someone Else’s Shoes), get pledges for walking laps around the park, and they will collect “change for change.”
Mrs. Reed feels that working for the benefit of others is healthy for all of us. Even our poorest families here in America are wealthy in comparison to those in the African or Haitian communities we have sponsored. It really helps us to keep things in perspective and realize that there are always those who are worse off than we are. Not to mention the sense of empowerment that our young people feel knowing that, even THEY can MAKE A DIFFERENCE a little bit at a time!
Friday, March 21, 2014 (WE Day)
Monday, April 14, 2014
Monday, April 28, 2014 *Park Clean Up
Monday, May 12, 2014(Put together Walk-A-Thon Shoes & Posters)
Friday, May 30, 2014 WALK-A-THON (during lunches)
Monday, June 5 (last meeting)