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2798: Kids' work: Changing the world (fwd)


Kids' work: Changing the world  By Charmaine Smith -- Scripps Howard
Foundation Wire, Washington, D.C.
Evansville Courier & Press Thursday, March 09, 2000 

They scrubbed dog cages at the pound. They scoured a ship. And now they
 are going to tell Congress why they spent their hard-earned  money to
buy goats. "In Haiti, goats can benefit the whole family," said
15-year-old Katie Kruse,of Patrick Henry High School in Minneapolis, 
Minn. That’s why Kruse devoted a day’s labor in her community for
Operation Day’s Work, a program sponsored by the United States Agency
for International Development. She and 1,200 American school children
give a day of their lives to raise money to help other students in
developing countries. This past year their work was for children in
Haiti. The Operation Day’s Work project will buy goats for 2,000 Haitian
children to learn animal husbandry. And, as Kruse explained, the Haitian
children can keep the goats for their families to raise for food and
milk. She and the other American students earned more than $30,000 for
Haiti, said Paul Austin, national director for  Operation Day’s Work at
the United States Agency for International Development. "The students
are excited," he said, "that they can help people they don’t know, in a
 land far away."Part of the program’s success, Austin said, comes from
the students’ control. They find the country to invest their time in.
They decide which program to fund. They find the minimum-wage jobs to
earn their money. The students’ control and creativity drew Ron Adams, a
 seventh-grade teacher at Broad Meadows Middle School, in Quincy, Mass.,
to join the program. Their clean-up of a derelict World War II ship
raised $1,500 for Haiti—and the vintage vessel then became a den for
 local Boy and Girl Scout troops. "It was amazing," said Adams, "what 75
kids came up with that really did something for the community."         
Operation Day’s Work started in Sweden 39 years ago  and came to the
United States in 1998. Now about 30  American schools have joined
Operation Day’s Work. This week, 15 of the students are in Washington to
get ready for next year’s hard work. They are reviewing financial
reports from the educational program they are funding in Haiti. They
tallied the votes from member schools on which program to sponsor this
 year. And they are briefing members of Congress about  Operation Day’s
Work to create interest for other schools to join. This year, the
students have decided to raise money to help children who were
traumatized or orphaned by El Salvador’s civil war that ended in 1992.
And from their past experiences,they also expect to gain something    
themselves."A lady from Haiti was telling me, ‘Just imagine          
everything is broken. When you are bleeding, there’s no hospital,’" said
Deirdre Faherty, 14, of Quincy, Mass."And I’ve lived such a sheltered
life." Adam Clay, 16,of Milwaukee, Wis.,found out he can make a
difference."I grew up a lot of my life in a one-room apartment and
on welfare,"Clay said. "A lot of the things they are going through I can
understand.But now I am changing the lives of a lot of people and I
never thought I could do that."