Global warming has taken on a whole new meaning at Jonathan Alder Junior High School as students work to warm the lives of children living half a world away.
The school is among 700 schools nationwide selected to participate in the Oprah Winfrey Foundation’s “O Ambassadors Club.” Through the program, students will learn about the daily lives of children in West Africa and raise funds to help meet some of their needs.
Harriet Merriman, teacher leader at the junior high, is credited with getting the school selected. Merriman said she heard about the program and filled out an application. The application process included an interview with the school’s principal, Jud Ross.
“I was interviewed by a member of Oprah Winfrey’s Angel Network after the application was submitted, but it was Harriet who got the process started,’’ Ross said.
O Ambassadors, a new education program that unites young people across the globe, is a joint project of Oprah’s Angel Network and Free The Children. The program’s goal is to “inspire youth to become active, compassionate and knowledgeable global citizens.” Schools participating in the program select their geographic area of focus; their choices are West Africa, East Africa, South Asia, East Asia and Latin America.
“This gives our students an opportunity to not just look at the needs of others in our own home area but give us a more global perspective of the needs of the world,” Ross said.
At Jonathan Alder Junior High, the O Ambassadors program started over the holiday season. Students formed a caroling group and raised $109 for Free The Children.
The school’s art classes are working on an “empty bowl’’ project, creating bowls to symbolize the empty bowls of hungry children in West Africa. The O Ambassador Club will combine this project with the efforts of the school’s existing Giraffe Club for a dinner fundraiser on May 6 during Jonathan Alder Junior High’s Celebration of Learning. The two clubs will split the profits, Merriman said.
Additional projects and events are planned. The school’s participation in O Ambassadors will continue through the end of the school year.