"What will you do to make the world a better place?"
That question was posed repeatedly recently to students during Lower School Chapel.
Over the last month, students in Stripes class have been learning about children who are changing the world. "Each grade learned about one kid who made the world a better place by getting a lot of other kids involved in something great," explained Lower School Chaplain Michelle Bullock.
After narrowing the field to eight, students and teachers got to work making colorful mosaic portraits of each child selected. "Each of you colored a piece of one of these great kids," said Chaplain Bullock.
Grade by grade, students shared what their assigned child is doing to make the world a better place. Then the hand-colored mosaic was revealed. With the reveal of each mosaic, the question was again posed to students, "Sometimes it just takes one. What will you do to make the world a better place?"
Pre-Kindergarten/Jaylen Arnold- Jaylen was bullied for being different and saw bullying as a problem. When Jaylen was eight, he decided to fight back with words and experiences rather than fists or name calling. Jaylen started "Jaylen's Challenge" and speaks at schools around the country about kindness, differences, and community service.
Kindergarten/Bethany Kuster- Bethany saw that not all kids have art supplies as a problem and wanted all kids to have a way to create with color. She started collecting art supplies to send to kids who don't have their own and began a program called "Color for Kids." Because of her hard work, hundreds of people have donated art supplies to kids around the globe.
1st Grade/Ryan Hreljac- Ryan saw the need for clean water as a problem. Ryan picked up sticks and raised $70 and then got his community involved until he had raised enough money to build a well for a school in Africa. Because of his hard work, Ryan started "Ryan's Wells" which has built 1,000 wells around the world.
2nd Grade/Katie Stagliano- Katie saw hunger as a problem. Katie grew a huge cabbage and gave it to a soup kitchen. That helped other children start nearly 100 gardens across 35 states. Because of her hard work, Katie's organization, "Katie's Crops," donates fresh crops and holds community dinners for people all over the country.
3rd Grade/Bilaal Rajan- When Bilaal was four, he saw the devastation of an earthquake in India. He sold clementines and raised $350. Bilaal initiated many more fundraisers to help people around the world. Because of his hard work, Bilaal is now a child ambassador and speaker for UNICEF.
4th Grade/Alex Scott- Alex saw cancer as a problem because she was battling the disease. When she was four, Alex started selling lemonade to raise money for cancer research. She created the organization "Alex's Lemonade Stand." Because of her hard work, over $140 million has helped fund more than 690 cancer research projects.
5th grade/Dylan Mahalingam- Dylan saw poverty as a problem and created the organization "Lil MDGs" to help kids get involved in changing the world. Because of his hard work, over three million children around the world have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for disaster relief. The organization has also helped build libraries and playgrounds and purchase computers for children.
Lower School Teachers/Malala Yousafzai- Malala saw a lack of respect for girls and women in her country of Pakistan as a problem. Malala spoke out for every individual's right to fair treatment and access to education. Because of her hard work, girls in Pakistan are now able to attend school safely. At 17 years old, Malala became the youngest person to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize.
On Tuesday, March 21, Jaylen Arnold will be this year's Huston Family Lower School Chapel speaker. Parents are welcome and encouraged to attend.The 2016-2017 Chapel Theme is "Hold Fast to What is Good." Chaplain Bullock explained, "The project is a part of a series to encourage students to practice kindness and is connected to the idea that sometimes it just takes one. What will you do to make the world a better place?"