Fourth-graders at the Dorothy Sullivan Lower School
are having a great time combining two of their favorite activities – making things and making friends – into one inspirational pursuit. Through the auspices of Children Inspiring Hope
, a nonprofit organization working to connect children globally through the exchange of creative projects, Jennifer Brown's
students feel quite enthusiastic about their contact with lower school students in Ghana.
Last November, Amy Gaylor
, founder and president of the organization, came to HIES to present the program to the fourth-graders. Students decided to create an "All About Me"
book to send to Africa. Each HIES student made a page about themselves and their interests. They then made friendship bracelets and attached them to their individual pages, documenting the bracelet-making process on video. Next to each page in the book was a blank page for their friends in Ghana to write about themselves.
"Amy took the book to Ghana, presented it to our buddy class and showed them the 'instructional' video on how to make the bracelets. The kids in Ghana reciprocated by filling out our book and sending bracelets back for my students," Ms. Brown said.
The fourth-graders were excited to get back the revised book, along with a video of the students in Ghana receiving their gifts. Still and motion media are principal resources used by Children Inspiring Hope
to facilitate cultural exchange. Ms. Brown notes, "It gave the students the chance to see their buddies and get to know them a bit."
Amid much excitement and rehearsing, her fourth-graders then recorded "With My Own Two Hands," Children Inspiring Hope's
theme song (see attached video). Ms. Gaylor will present this video to the Ghanaian children in a few weeks. The HIES kids would like their friends to learn the song and sing it for them, making up their own meaningful choreography. Their video then comes back to HIES, kids here respond, and so on.
Ms. Brown reflects, "The words in the song, 'I can change the world with my own two hands,' give the kids the chance to see that if they believe they can change their world and their friends in Ghana feel the same way, then we all have the same goals and hopes, even though we live worlds apart. These global connections can make a difference in the world. The students have had the opportunity to make friends in a world much different than their own, and that's priceless."