How do you interest young people, who are inundated with hyper-materialistic messages, in issues that affect millions of children, such as hunger, disease, poverty, human rights, and environmental devastation? Many young people don't have firsthand experience with these problems, which seem to occur so far away. Their only exposure might be images on the TV news that cause them grab for the remote and change channels. Unless they see how they can impact our world for the better, they are great risk of becoming apathetic, cynical and self-centered.

Yet young people are exactly the people to engage in global problems. They have natural compassion. They have the desire to act, if they know ways that they can help. And they have the ability to inspire adults when they do.

World Week encourages understanding and raises awareness of important global issues. It helps students grasp problems affecting the poor and gives them ways to respond. World Week engenders a global perspective while counteracting the very normal feelings of discouragement and helplessness, that come from hearing alarming statistics such as those associated with child deaths, HIV/AIDS prevalence, or environmental degradation.

Impact of World Week on Students

The following reactions to World Week activities are typical.

"When we were walking, a lady asked us what we were doing. I told her that we were doing a Water Walk for children in developing countries."
Stacie, Grade School Student

"I know realize how lucky I really am."
David, High School Student

I felt the agony that women in the Third World countries feel."
Bridget, Grade School Student

"This changed me. Now I know what some women have to go through just to get water. I'm glad you are doing this program because I think it will change a lot of people."
Jennifer, Grade School Student

"This week we simulated the caste system in my tenth grade English class. It was revealing and enlightening for the students. Thank you so much for your initiative and creativity in producing this project. I believe it has made a valuable contribution to my students' perceptions and experience of discrimination."
Barbara, High School Teacher

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