Let the Children Lead!
Philadelphia has a unique story. It is the city of innovation, contemporary ideas, and independence. Philadelphia is a place where people who are hungry for new birth, a new dawn, come to make it happen. We believe these characteristics are a common denominator between Philadelphia and Ayiti. Innovation is a key historical strength between Philadelphia and Ayiti (Haiti). It is in this spirit that we want to start a "battle of deeds" movement right here in PA. I was moved by former Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell and Katie's good deeds. Today we live in a world that magnifies the worst within our culture, schools, children, and peers. We hope this book can inspire a fresh start into investing, redirecting our focus, and giving our children the tools they need to be agents of change. It will not be new regulations, new laws, new policies, or placing security guards with weapons in our schools that will stop violence and bullying. I was amazed to learn during my course at MIT that a child's personality is shaped by the age of eight. What this tells us is that only students have the power to change the climate inside their schools. As adults and parents, we need to provide them tools by letting them lead this process. How? It starts at home!
One example of how children can lead the process of change is the story of a little boy who was being bullied at Franklin Elementary School in Minnesota. Five young men stepped in to support and befriend him. Do not hesitate to challenge your children and teach them to learn the value of patience. Let parents be parents, let children be children, and let teachers be teachers to protect what we all share together: our space and our humanity. Research proves that engaging and serving one another builds self-esteem in recipients and inspires them to act in the same way.
Now, here is the best part of this book. We are asking you to pass this book along to a friend you want to either challenge or join you on the journey of becoming a "Superhero of Service." We have the power to promote service learning and civic engagement in our schools, families, communities, and churches. Passing along the book and challenging others to become Superheroes of Service is one of many ways you can play a part.
Now Listen Closely
Tagging someone to join you in the village of Super Heroes of Service, all you must do is pass along the copy of the book you have in your hands. When you finish reading the book, you can pass it on, or keep it and buy a copy for a friend or someone you want to be on your team. You can tag a stranger, someone you want to befriend, or someone with whom you want to reconcile; a parent, a sibling, etc. Be creative! A stranger is as good as a friend because that could lead to you making a new friend. Let us call this process the “#JoinTheVillage” Process. It can be played at any level, from a single individual to a class, or to an entire community. There is the avenue for a group to challenge another group. Schools challenge each other in sports. Why not challenge each other in good deeds, in service? Because when it comes to doing good deeds, all are physically able to participate. We can all rise to the occasion and leave our mark.
What if your classroom were to come up with 21+1 tasks to do around your school and then complete them as a team? When you are done, you are more than welcome to invite any schools around the country, around the globe to join your class in the "Village of Super Heroes of Service." Each class can come up with 21+1 different acts unique to that class and do them together. Someone once said that, to create a habit, one must do something at least 21 times. Well, we figure 21+1 times would make more sense. The “1” stands for one more time! We have listed 21 + 1 deeds (+1 to remind us, we can always do one more deed! :) The question is, Are you a +1? My +1 includes being a photographer, filmmaker, and an author. For Gretchen Rossi and Slade, it is their celebrity power and resources. For my Grandma, it was her funding, resources, and wisdom. For your teachers, it is their desire for and love of education. For your parents and guardians, it is their money and decision to sacrifice their needs and wants to put you first. You are all unique and have something valuable that your classroom, your community cannot live without. When you find it, get involved, and you will be on your way to becoming a superhero of service.
Team KHaitie’s good deeds involved raising a significant amount of funding and continuing to inspire others along the way. You are free to create a fresh concept to suit the needs of your classroom, group, community, country, or kingdom. It does not have to be listed on our 21+1 good deeds challenge. In fact, we want each classroom that reads this book to be able to come up with 21+1 good deeds that are unique to their needs. This is your moment to be unique. Create a deed, and we will name it after you!
You may have heard of the story of Denis Estimon, a senior from Boca Haron High School in Florida. He originated from the same homeland as me. Denis started a group to make sure no kid would eat alone during recess. He remembered when he first came from Haiti, there were times that he had to eat lunch alone, and he did something about it to make sure that doesn't occur anymore. I can relate, as there were times when I was in college that I had to eat alone. It didn't bother me much, mostly because I was able to take at least an hour to eat my lunch, while my American classmates rushed to eat in 30 minutes. A friend from the basketball team, David Henninger, always looked out for me and invited me to join him and his teammates if I was eating alone. David is one of the supporters of this book! Denis is now a popular upperclassman in his high school, and what started out as a simple gesture turned into international news. This is another example that, in the Haitian community, we do care for one another. We know that keeping a safe and friendly environment is part of our duty as citizens. You never know what people are going to become- always be kind to others. Why? Because being kind is dope!
When you do good, your community and the entire nation pays attention. You have the power to change the culture inside your elementary school, your junior high, your high school, and/or your work environment, to make it fun again. The teachers, parents, and administrators cannot do it for you; not even the President can! Your classroom needs you to be a superhero; I am confident you can do it. There is one rule. You cannot challenge someone to do a deed you have not done yourself unless you want to do it together for the first time and it requires at least two people.
Now it is time for the most fun part of the book: We want you to share your stories with us on social media under the supervision of your parents or guardians if you are under 18. Anyone who completes all the 21+1 good deeds challenge will be invited to be part of our “Superheroes of Service” award celebration. Visit our website to find out how to submit your stories. We ask everyone who reads this book to consider donating on behalf of the Pikliz Project.