Pen Pals and Backpacks
The Rock Foundation sponsors Project Knapsack
Kid Reporter Eileen Iniguez with members of the Sherman Oaks Elementary School and Project Knapsack. (Photo courtesy Eileen Iniguez)
The Rock Foundation, a nonprofit charity for children whose chairman and founder is actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, will sponsor Project Knapsack, Inc. The organization will launch a pen-pal and school-supply program between students here in America and their peers in Third World countries.
Sherman Oaks Elementary School located in the city of Sherman Oaks, California, was selected to mark the official launch of this project in March 2008. The students at this school will learn the importance of issues facing their peers in developing countries.
"Project Knapsack's dedication to educating American school children about the issues facing their peers in developing countries compliments my foundation's commitment to creating hope in the lives of children worldwide," said Dwayne Johnson. "We both share a passion for teaching kids about the importance of making a difference."
The founder and president of Project Knapsack, Porcha Dodson, gave a presentation to the students at Sherman Oaks Elementary. She explained how she will deliver knapsacks along with the letters that the kids are writing to their peers in Zambia, Africa. She also talked about the climate, animals, and the lifestyle of the people of this country.
When the presentation was over, the children had the opportunity to write pen-pal letters to the kids in Zambia. In the letters, they wrote about what they like to do on the weekends and what their everyday school is like. They also wrote about their favorite sports and much more. They were able to write in English because the kids in Zambia speak English, although they also speak Swahili. The kids also packed knapsacks with rulers, pencils, and many other school supplies.
"I think it's important for kids to find a cause or project that not only interests them on a personal level, but one they believe in and enjoy contributing their energy to so they can make a difference," said Johnson. "If you're truly passionate about something, you work hard to achieve your goals. In this case, hard work can make an enormous impact and change lives. And as I always say, there's no substitute for hard work!"
Find a cause to support, so you can also participate in a project that helps kids around the world!
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Eileen Iniguez is a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.