ACTIVITY 4: HANDOUT 1
STORIES OF STUDENTS WHO TOOK ACTION
1. PROJECT OXYGEN
When twelve-year-old Joseph Ziskovsky read that the earth needed billions of trees, he decided to plant thousands in his town. He called his idea "Project Oxygen," and with the help of his Scout troop, he sent letters to all the children in his elementary school in Shoreview, Minnesota. Then they wrote to the adult service organizations in town and talked to the local nursery owner. Joe got more than 3,125 people to help him plant 3,474 trees in a twelve-square-mile area near his hometown. Joe proved that a kid with a lot of determination can accomplish what might at first seem impossible.
2. FRIENDSHIP SEES NO COLOR
Brian Harris was seven years old when he decided that the best way to fight racial prejudice was to do something before it could begin. Brian, who is mixed African-American and European-American, wanted other kids to have a chance to get to know kids from different ethnic backgrounds. He created a pen pal club called "Friendship Sees No Color." He wrote to news programs and talk shows until he was invited as a guest on a national TV program. Soon he had hundreds of kids sending him self-addressed stamped envelopes and a card with their name, age, sex, and race or ethnic background. Brian matched kids from different backgrounds and sent them information about each other. His club became very successful. Club members even bought t-shirts to help cover Brian's expenses for extra stamps and a post-office box.
3. JAMES ALE PARK
When he was nine, James Ale saw his friend get hit by a car when they were playmg ball in a crowded street. The accident made him wonder, "Why should we have to play in the street when kids in the rich part of town have parks?" The more he thought about it, the angrier he got. Finally, James Ale took on town hall. He created a petition on his computer for kids to sign and made many calls to the Mayor's office. When the Mayor agreed to meet with him, he presented her with a plan. He had a map of the place where the park could be, and many names on his petition. The mayor and the town administrator were not very interested at first because they had just built new parks in another part of town. James decided to call a local newspaper. A reporter wrote a story about James and his neighborhood. James continued to call the Mayor's office. Finally he was invited to a city council meeting, where he learned that a new park was going to be built in his neighborhood. All of his hard work had paid off.
Back to Youth and Society Lessons