Another Call to Act

I found this uplifting story of seven year old Charlie.  I remembered how Patreece was moved by another story of a 14 year old, Jake, below who had to jump in and help when he saw another in need.  It also reminds of the message in our dear colleague, Judy Rogers’ book, Something Beyond Greatness, when there is a calling to act – you just can’t not do it.

I’ve pasted in the story of Charlie from Wend.

When seven year old Charlie Simpson saw the grim  images of post-earthquake Haiti on television he reacted as most children his age would: he broke down and cried. But instead of begging his mother to change the station, the young bicycling aficionado asked how he could help. To date the West London youth’s philanthropic push–a five-mile sponsored bicycle ride around a local park–has raised $204,459.186 for UNICEF and inspired people throughout the world to lend a hand with disaster relief in Haiti.

Charlie set out to raise £500 (around $800) for the Unicef Haiti Appeal by riding his bicycle 7 laps–about 5 miles–around a local park, asking for sponsors along the way. But some savvy adult (presumably his mother or father) set the young philanthropist up with an account at a website where donations can be collected online and once word about Charlie’s mission hit the internet, teary-eyed grown ups all over the world started opening up their pocketbooks.

From Charlie Simpson’s donation site:

“My name is Charlie Simpson. I want to do a sponsored bike ride for Haiti because there was a big earthquake and loads of people have lost their lives. I want to make some money to buy food, water and tents for everyone in Haiti.”

Robyn Stratton-Berkessel

Life Lessons from Children and Youth

“We saw him put his hand up and saying, ‘help, help,’ so we went over to him and pulled him on our board,” Satherley said on Monday.

Jake Satherley and his partner in this extraordinary exploit, Spencer Jeams, rescued a middle aged man who was drowning in the ocean off the east coast of Australia. They are members of a lifeguard training program for under 14 year olds.

This brief story was cited over 5,000,000 times in Yahoo and Google between 1/11/10 and 1/12/10 with almost the exact wording except for one report on that was different. There Mrs. Satherley reveals that the children had not been taught how to save people; that training would come in a couple of years. Jake’s mother added that her son has always been the type of child to save sick animals, birds, or lizards.

This story is an inspiration about the innocence of children who, under the belief that they can, actually did – and jumped into a situation to save a life. Jake and Spencer used the training they received and took it to the next level instinctively. They responded without hesitation to their innate gift to be aware of a need and to act.

Who would have thought that saving a lizard could translate into rescuing a person?

May we as adults take the opportunity nurture that spark in every child that coul someday blossom into the fulfillment of a dream for them, for others and for ourselves.

Patreece Thompson

A Paradigm Shift

I read about this in the Sun Sentinel Newspaper, Florida USA

State Senate President Pro Tem, Rosa Franklin, who is a Democrat from Washington State, understands the power of negative labels. She wants 54 state law designations such as “at risk” and “disadvantaged” to be re framed to a new term, “at hope”.

Here is what she said: “We really put too many negatives on our kids. We need to come up with more positive terms.”

Senator Franklin believes that this could lead to a paradigm shift in State Government and in classrooms.

Marge Schiller

PCC Board Meeting 1/12/10


The board meeting, conducted via telephone conference, focused on the activities of participants in expanding the use of strengths-based approaches in the education of children and increasing the practice of Appreciative Inquiry.

Two members (Sue James and Robin Stratton-Berkessel) described in glowing terms their experience of the Appreciative Inquiry Conference that was held in Nepal in November of 2009.  High points related to location, cultural diversity of attendees and applications of AI in the community, healthcare and spiritual arenas.

For more about the conference in Nepal, please see:

The group then brainstormed recommendations to make the website more dynamic including brief interviews of board members, stories of interest highlighting education in emergent areas, and stories reflecting the power of children and links to interesting articles.

An overview of Voices of Learning in Canton, Ohio. in which 6 schools participated, was presented and overall was a success.

The meeting ended with plans to complete the Leap of Learning Manual and enroll interested teachers, school administrators in the training before publication as well as regional offices of education and education boards.

More detailed information about the meetng (PDF download)

The Importance of Inter-Generational Conversation

IntergenerationalA fascinating article appeared in the New York Times on 10 January 2010, in which Brad Stone discusses current inter-generational gaps that are being influenced and increased by light-speed advances in technology.

Entitled  The Children of Cyberspace: Old Fogies by Their 20s, the article explores how the world view of children and young people is influenced by new technologies. It mentions how researchers theorize that “the ever-accelerating pace of technological change may be minting a series of mini-generation gaps, with each group of children uniquely influenced by the tech tools available in their formative stages of development“.

Our children and young people will “think nothing of sharing the minutiae of their lives online, staying connected to their friends at all times, buying virtual goods, and owning one über-device that does it all.”

It is certainly food for thought …. and yet another reminder for us all of how vitally important it is to create the space and time for meaningful inter-generational conversations!

Read the full article online …

All My Work is Peace Education

Martha Llanos, Peru

Martha_LlanosIn my varied career, including my time as the first UNICEF Regional Advisor for Latin America and the Caribbean, I have worked for the rights of the child in Peru and around the world.

Last year I had a wonderful time sharing Peace Ambassadors workshops with women and girls from India, Nepal, and Greece.

I just completed three presentations at the International Conference on Human Development that took place in Lima.

Now I am preparing to journey to Slovenia and Croatia to work on intercultural issues and coping and resilience in emergency situations.

All my work is peace education. The heart of peace education is understanding people’s lives, dreams, cultures, and practices and appreciating them in whatever contributions they make to society.

Peace education encompasses flexibility, creativity, discovery, and finding value in every way that collectivity can be built for the common good. Values such as cooperation, trust, solidarity, and respect are essential for peace building.

As Mahatma Gandhi said:

If we want true peace in the world, we shall have to start with the children. We will not have peace in the world if we continue to violate children’s rights.

To build a global culture of peace we must build a collective vision in which the culture of peace features presented in the UNESCO Manifesto are expressed in our everyday life: Continue reading