Maureen Keeling from Odyssey Montessori in Fredericksburg, VA sends an update: "Our students have embraced the Amman Imman project! We did a presentation in all the classrooms about the project and talked about what it would be like for us not to have any water, if even for only a day. Not only were the responses from the students positive and supportive, but the questions asked by the students showed they understood the plight of the children in the Azawak. The questions also showed the compassion they have for these children. Classrooms began brainstorming ways to earn money to build the wells. The Middle School students in Ms. Eva's class (12-15 year olds)have a soap company they created, making, marketing, and selling soap. 35% of the profits are going towards Amman Imman. Ms. Kim's & Ms. Marie's 1st-3rd grade classroom is selling "Peace" cards. Each of the students designed a card; the cards will be sold in sets of 24, with all profits going to bring water to the the Azawak. The cards are beautiful! Ms. Jen's and Ms. Mauri's 3-6 year old classrooms are collecting loose change in a five gallon water jug. The students are going to roll the coins themselves. They are off to a good start!
In addition, other students are working on their own projects. After hearing about the Azawak, Wyatt, in the upper elementary classroom, went home and did more research on Niger and the Azawak region. He then came up with the idea of selling rosemary from his herb garden at home. When he came to school and asked permission to do this, he grinned from ear to ear when we said YES! Wyatt also reseached recipes to use when cooking with the rosemary. He sold bunches of rosemary with 3 recipes for $1 a bunch, making $81 in just one day! Wyatt is an inspiration to all of us!
Students from the lower elementary class are popping with ideas! Gabe had the idea of talking to the local radio stations. He spoke to all the teachers and many of the students. He has asked the students to write short essays on why it is important to them to become involved in Amman Imman. He is going to talk to radio stations and other schools about having the students read the essays to spread the word. Catie is making scarves to sell. She jumped on board before we even arrived home from the conference!! Brothers Matthew, Christopher and Nicholas are collecting and selling used toys. For our Thanksgiving celebration, the students made a video and talked about what they are thankful for; Amman Imman and water are two things that were mentioned many times."
We are so proud of our students here at Odyssey. They are showing us what a Montessori child is all about: compassion for others and having the drive and initative to do something about it. We should all take a lesson from our students.