Peace Leader Awards Encourage Students’ Passion
This spring, Pennies for Peace is honoring six schools whose passion and creativity made a difference in their own communities, as well as communities in Central Asia. This is CAI’s second year of giving Peace Leader Awards, demonstrating our appreciation to the dedicated students and teachers who have shown consistent passion for spreading peace and education all around the world.
Pennies for Peace is CAI’s service-learning program in which students raise money for their counterparts in Central Asia. As they fundraise, these students follow Common Core curriculum that teaches empathy, compassion, cultural awareness, and the impact that individual people can make, no matter their age. Each of the students and teachers receiving Peace Leader Awards work hard to bring education to girls struggling to go to school half a world away.
- A. Vito Martinez Middle School, Romeoville, Illinois
- Foothill Elementary School, Santa Barbara, California
- Halton Hills Christian School, Georgetown, Ontario, Canada
- Justin Wynn Leadership Academy, Evanston, Illinois
- Muncie Central High School, Latin Club, Muncie, Indiana
- Robinson Barracks Elementary School, Stuttgart, Germany
Who Can Win a Peace Leader Award?
A Peace Leader can look like anyone – a middle-schooler raising money with their friends, a first-grader with a penny jar in their room, or a high-schooler volunteering in their community for funds.
They can look like Hanna Waechter, a teacher in Muncie, Indiana who says, “I am a lifelong advocate for the cause of peace, compassion and understanding. It is extremely gratifying for my students to receive the Peace Leader Award, and gives me hope for the cause of peace in the future.” They can also look like third-grade teacher Michele Hay, who leads the Pennies for Peace program at Foothills Elementary School in Santa Barbara, California. Peace Leaders come from all areas of the world, in all shapes and sizes. These are the people working hard to make a difference in their own communities and communities around the world.
Each of the schools being honored has used their creativity and resourcefulness to build their own unique Pennies for Peace programs. Foothills Elementary got creative sharing what they learned about girls’ education at their local school board meeting, performed plays, and held bake sales. At Halton Hills Christian School, they sold homemade Pennies for Peace booklets at the local farmer’s market. These are just a few ways to combine passion and creativity to make a very real difference.
What Can a Penny Do?
Many people know that Pennies for Peace helps create education opportunities for girls across the world, but it’s more than that. P4P teaches young students about other cultures, and creates empathy that can extend past the issue of education to other causes as well.
Implementing Pennies for Peace programs in schools introduces young students to what it’s like to work for a cause and helps them realize the effects they can have when they act on their passions. P4P allows these students to explore the impacts of their actions, and acts as a gateway to finding the causes that will be important to them for the rest of their lives.
Join the Peace Leader Team
There is no one right way to be a Peace Leader, and leaders can be anybody. They’re people who lead by example, who go out of their way to make other people’s lives just a little bit better, in whatever ways they can. Maybe your way of being a leader is helping your community by volunteering at a homeless shelter or at an afterschool program. Maybe it’s through sharing music, or even just doing a favor for a friend. It could be starting a Pennies for Peace program in your own community, helping kids in Central Asia gain the access to education that can improve their lives immeasurably. This year, six schools worked hard and became Peace Leaders. By following their passion for spreading education, these schools have become examples of leadership for countless others to follow. If you want to become a Peace Leader, find out how to start your own penny drive here.