"The one thing I most desire..."
The Impact of School-to-School's Pen Pal Program
February 26, 2010 - Earlier this month, Dr. Mark Lynd, President of STS, visited Peninsula Preparatory Academy Charter School (PPA) in New York to share stories with the students of what it is like to go to elementary school in Guinea.
Last year PPA joined our pen pal program and has since developed a "Donate a Dollar for Clean Water" campaign to provide access to clean water in our partner schools in Guinea.
Mr. Marvin A. Griffin Jr., Assistant Principal at PPA, wrote a letter to STS that describes the impact of the pen pal program on his students.
This drawing was created by a student from Peninsula Preparatory Academy (PPA), NY, to promote their "Donate a Dollar for Clean Water" campaign.
"The one thing that I most desire is for Africa to have clean water"
As a child I always wondered about Africa. I knew that I was African American and that my ancestors were from the continent of Africa, but the connection between the two was obscured by the happenings of life that distract us all.
As I grew older I began to understand the connection to my roots and wanted to find ways to deepen my understanding of my connection to Africa. I explored my desire to learn more about Africa through books, movies, the Internet an other traditional outlets of study. When I became an administrator at a school, my colleagues and I wanted to give our scholars an opportunity to deepen their understanding of Africa, regardless of race or ethnic background, and how that applies to their life at a much earlier age than we did.
School- to- School International helped us give the scholars of Peninsula Preparatory Academy Charter School the opportunity to communicate with school aged children in Guinea, West Africa via their pen pal program. This interaction has caused a sense of pride among our scholars, so much so that they developed a service project titled Donate A Dollar for Clean Water, which is dedicated to helping the people of Guinea, West Africa develop the infrastructure necessary for clean water.
A visitor to our school stopped me in my office and said “Mr. Griffin, the Kindergarten students are writing about what they most desire. Some kids wrote about their Transformers coming to life, others wrote about their video games, but there was one student who rose his hand and said ‘The one thing that I most desire is for Africa to have clean water.” Every time I think about the little boy in Kindergarten I want to thank School-to-School International for helping us to provide our scholars with an understanding of world-class citizenship, an understanding that most people develop later in life if they ever do at all. Working with School-to-School International has been a HUGE success and I would encourage other schools to work with School- to- School International pen pal exchange as well.
Mr. Marvin A. Griffin Jr.
Peninsula Preparatory Academy Charter School