My heart has a special place for Greg Mortenson and his work in Afghanistan and Pakistan. His amazing journey from mountaineer to international philanthropist is outlined in the famous, inspiring book Three Cups of Tea.
From the website:
In 1993 Mortenson was descending from his failed attempt to reach the peak of K2. Exhausted and disoriented, he wandered away from his group into the most desolate reaches of northern Pakistan. Alone, without food, water, or shelter he stumbled into an impoverished Pakistani village where he was nursed back to health.
While recovering he observed the village’s 84 children sitting outdoors, scratching their lessons in the dirt with sticks. The village was so poor that it could not afford the $1-a-day salary to hire a teacher. When he left the village, he promised that he would return to build them a school. From that rash, heartfelt promise grew one of the most incredible humanitarian campaigns of our time.
If you haven’t read it, you must. It’ll make you want to do something to help.
If your kids haven’t read one of the youth editions, encourage them or make it a family event and read it to them yourself. It’ll make them want to do something to help.
Too often we read about something like this, wish we could help, and then do nothing because we don’t know what to do.
As you may have guessed, I have a suggestion.
The Pennies for Peace campaign is an excellent way for our youth to truly help some of God’s neediest children. It’s a way to raise awareness of the needs of others and encourage gratitude for the blessings we have here. It’s a way to empower kids to understand that they can make a difference in the lives of others. It’s something everyone can get in on, even those who only have pennies to give.
This idea is flexible and can be made to fit the kind of service project you’re looking for. Primary kids working on their Faith in God can run a small and simple campaign. Youth working on Personal Progress, Duty to God or Scouting awards can coordinate a campaign on a much larger scale.
The Pennies to Peace website has tips and everything you need to get started, from printable stickers to decorate your donation jars to letter templates for parents and Girls Education Fact Sheets. And it’s all free.
If your son or daughter decides to do this, please drop me a line and let me know how it went.
LDS and Scouting Service Project Requirements:
PLEASE NOTE: The Pennies for Peace program may NOT be used for the Eagle Scout award because fund-raising projects are not permitted for that award.
Faith in God – Serving Others requirement #7: “Plan and hold a parent-child activity, such as a dinner, picnic, hike, day trip, or service project.” This idea may also be used for requirement #10: “Children may also plan and complete their own activity to serve others. ”
Personal Progress – Good Works Value requirement #7, which involves giving three hours of service outside your home. Also, this could be used for the Good Works Value Project which requires at least 10 hours of service and can additionally include involving other young women.
All three levels of the new Duty to God program (Deacon, Teacher, Priest) include requirements to plan and carry out service, both individually and with the quorum.
The Star and Life ranks of the Boy Scout program each require service projects totaling at least six hours of work. Again, please note you may NOT use fund-raising service projects for the Eagle Scout Award.
Venturing – Religious Life Bronze Award requirement #3: “Plan and lead a service project such as helping to build a Habitat for Humanity house, participating in a community cleanup project, or taking on a fix-up project for a nursing home or nursery.”
A Pennies for Peace campaign could be used to fulfill the service to others requirement for the Venturing Gold Award.