Saturday, October 22, 2005

NAIS Challenge 20/20-Connections to Japan

Father Paul Jeffries Visit to Casady and connections to my Japanese trip
History of Challenge 20/20 at Casady School
A couple of my Casady students in August decided to take the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS ) Global Education Challenge 20/20. Challenge 20/20 is a new NAIS global initiative that provides an opportunity for public and private schools to develop international partnerships and to work toward real solutions to global problems. For details about this program, please click here. My school did not qualify for a partnership through NAIS, but we were given the choice to find our own or go solo. My global warming team decided that they could go solo, but my poverty-hunger team could not go solo. I kept on looking.
Since I was selected to go to Japan, I contacted the Japanese Fulbright Memorial Fund Master Teacher Program because one of my students wanted to work on the problem of global warming with a Japanese school. The JFMF Program said that they could not help me at this time. When I read the description of the master teacher program I understood why. They gave me several leads. I contacted the International School in Tokyo. They answered two e-mails, but we have not heard from them since.
I do not usually give up when I feel something feels right for my students and they are ready to undertake new challenges. When a teacher from my school came to talk to me about a possible service-learning trip to Uganda, Africa, a place she found wonderful as a volunteer nurse-teacher; I decided to contact the Headmaster and Principal of the school where Carol had spent beautiful summers serving. The name of the school, Bishop McAllister College Father Paul Jeffries, answered my e-mail inmediatly. After an initial hesitation, he welcomed us as his school's partner in two global issues: Global warming and a youth solution towards hunger and poverty.
My Global Warming group is headed by Dylan. They are working under the guidance of our Geology teacher and other Science teachers such as Mrs. Zesiger.
My poverty and hunger group has three leaders: Andrew, Ankita and Leann. They are not working as a team, but they complement each other. Andrew wants to get art from developing country schools. Bring the art to Oklahoma and sell the art pieces at the yearly World Neighbors World Fest Market. World Neighbors was created by his great-uncle. Andrew is one of the founding members of a Youth Advisory Council at World Neighbors. His team has members from our school and other area high schools. His adult collaborators are the Director of Outreach services and education and the Director of Volunteers at World Neighbors as well as our art teacher, Mrs. Seitter. Their first task is to raise awareness and funding for poverty and hunger in the world through a first city-wide youth-led hunger banquet. His group meets once a month. The project is still at the brainstorming stage.
Ankita's project is called Casady Cans Do. She will collect cans and funding school-wide for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma: the week of Nov.7-11. She is working in close contact with our Activities Director, Mrs. Stewart, our STUCO advisor, Mr. Pena and all division directors. She has been working since August developing partnerships with the Food Bank's Teens Against Hunger Coordinator, Ashley Ozan, and the Director of an after school options for needy children of the Food Bank, Debbie Bell. Debbi heads the Food Bank Kids Cafes Program. Debbie was my first community partner when I started the service-learning program at Casady. Debbie has suggeted Ankita to use our lunch time to bring awareness to our Cyclones about the needs of the Food Bank and the Oklahomas who would go hungry if the Food Bank were not there to assist them. Ankita will have a Hunger in Oklahoma lunch. Our students will be served a meal similar to what the Food Bank would provide to needy people in our community.
Leann is working on a city wide global awareness and fundraiser event on behalf of the United Nations World Feeding Programme, School Feeding area. She will use a walk as an awareness tool. The Fight Hunger, Walk the World Oklahoma City will take place on May 21, 2006. Leann wants to help the United Nations realize its millenium goal of eradicating hunger by the year 2,015. She will help raise funds for the United Nations Feeding Program Leann is particularly motivated by their School Feeding Programs: Leann will be participating in their yearly Fight Hunger Walk the World walks in 24 time zones. She will be organizing her second youth-lead awareness and fundraising Walk the World Oklahoma City. Her team is developing a marketing strategy to sell T-shirts/a hat/a bracelet for a $34 donation. $34 feeds a child for a year in developing nations. We hope to start selling the supplies sent to us by the United Nations World Food Programme from November on. If we sell what we have we can make more than $10,000 for this cause. She will also ask businesses to help her cause. The letter is being drafted. Last year, Leann raised close to $3,000. She will also try to promote the creation of more youth-led walks around the world by presenting her story at the National Service-Learning Conference in Philadelphia if her proposal is approved. On July 2005, Leann attended the Fight Hunger Walk the World strategic planning meeting in Italy. Her reflection inspired organizers around the world to give greater leadership of their walks to youth. If you want more information about this wonderful "EASY" project, contact us at
When Father Jeffries visited our school on August 21, 2005. I found this a perfect opportunity to make global connections, not only to our partnership, but also to focus on the Asian world.
During Activities, when my Youth Advisory Council on Service-Learning came to meet Father Jeffries, they were served Japanese snacks. At the reception for Father Jeffries, the host was my Service-Learning Youth Chair, Ye-Geun, a Korean student. The snacks and beverages were purchased by Justin, a student who lived in Japan when he was younger. We served sushi, prepared by our local Vietnamese Market store, owned by two former Vietnamese students of mine from Heritage Hall. Hai, one of the Vietnamese brothers, suggested to drink an Aloe drink from Korea. People had never had Aloe before. I saw Ye-Geun smiling when everyone wanted seconds because the drink was delicious.

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