The character of Atticus Finch in the novel ‘To Kill A Mockingbird” is quoted as saying to his daughter Scout, “You never really understand a person until you consider his point of view — Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
Forty students in the mixed-age class at Heber Hunt Elementary are doing just that in a project that is helping raise funds for malnourished children in other countries.
Through the UNICEF Kid Power Challenge the students have donated enough food packets to save the lives of four children and they plan to continue the project for the remainder of the school year and beyond.
“Each student (in the mixed-age class) was gifted a power band/movement tracker through a UNICEF grant,” project coordinator Dana White said. “The students wear the bands all day and as they move they earn points.
“It has been tremendous in promoting an active lifestyle but has also empowered the students to help others in need,” White added. “Kids are not sitting around anymore, they are getting outside and moving.”
For every 2,400 steps a student moves they earn one point. After 10 points are earned a therapeutic food packet sponsored by UNICEF is sent to a malnourished child.
According to White, the therapeutic food packets are protein-rich food packs and each malnourished child needs 150 food packets to replenish their body.
The program isn’t just providing food for malnourished bodies — it’s also nourishing the minds of the students in the class.
“Each week students learn about different cultures where malnourished children live and the work to help children everywhere survive and thrive,” White explained. ”It includes lessons, activities and videos that explore human rights and global citizenship.”
The program has also been positive for the parents.
“We have received great feedback from parents who have commented about their child’s activity increase,” White said. “We’ve loved the many videos parents have sent of their children running around the block. Jumping on the trampoline, or running in the backyard before bed to earn those last points of the day.
“We have added some of our own incentives and are tracking our steps on a bulletin board in the hallway,” she added. “Students have been so excited to be a part of the program and can’t wait to see where the class is moving on the leader board each day.”
The students will participate in the challenge until the last day of school and then parents can take over and monitor their child’s progress.
Individuals can also participate in the program to help UNICEF feed malnourished children by purchasing UNICEF power bands at Target stores or at www.target.com by searching “UNICEF power band.”
— Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484.