11/09/2009

AFT, Save the Children Sponsor Valentine's Card Contest

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The AFT, joining with Save the Children's efforts to actively engage students in the fight to end child poverty, is developing classroom activities and resources for pre-K through 12th-grade teachers that echo Save the Children's core values and support its Valentine's Day card contest.

The theme of the contest is "Uniting a Generation." Students will design Valentine's Day cards using the heart image as a symbol for such values as compassion, courage, honesty, loyalty and responsibility. Students will then vote online for the best designs, and the five most popular designs will be made into cards that will be offered as a gift with every donation to benefit Save the Children programs to end child poverty in the United States.

"Teachers can use these lesson plan activities to educate their students about childhood poverty and to encourage them to fight it," says AFT president Randi Weingarten. "Teaching children to act on their beliefs is an important part of preparing the next generation to participate in our democracy."

The AFT activities use classic literature, movies, music and art to convey the core values. In an effort to share other ideas, a short online survey on the AFT Web site is asking teachers for more ways to spark students' creativity, and the site will post teachers' recommendations.

Actor Julianne Moore, who is the Save the Children's Artist Ambassador, conceived Save the Children's Valentine's Card project. "There are no better or more credible advocates for kids than kids themselves," Moore says. "I hope this contest helps educate kids about poverty here at home and inspires them to unite and take action."

Mark Shriver, managing director of Save the Children's U.S. programs, says, "Empowering young people to fight a poverty crisis that affects one in six of their peers could help make this generation one of the greatest yet. I hope this art contest will help educate and activate young people to open a new front against childhood poverty in America."

A flier for school staff to use to promote the contest is available.

The lesson plan activities and resources, along with details about the contest, can be found on the AFT Web site.

November 9, 2009