The students arrived and were greeted by the Ambassadors.16 students aged 8 to 15 from four cities (Portland, Tigard, Lake Oswego, and Beaverton in Oregon) represented eight schools.
The moderator of the academy, Pam, introduced Plant-for-the-Planet and its idea. Afterwards Miko, Peter, and Isaac gave the presentation "Now we children change the world".
After our guests spoke, the children took a break and enjoyed a healthy snack. (Okay, sort of healthy, but delicious.)
We played the World Game, using old pearl-like beads to represent carbon, and large and small shells to represent people and wealth. The children were astonished about the different distributions. Then, we turned to Rhetoric Practice and discussed what makes a speech effective and the slides with the presenters notes were given out to the students, so they could practice giving small parts of the talk. Pam worked with the students to help each decide who would present which slides in the afternoon.
We shared a blessing appropriate for everyone and talked about the importance of taking only the food we know we can eat and making sure that nothing is wasted. We talked about how we can save leftovers and compost all that is left or can’t be eaten, and that this, too, helps to prevent Climate Change. All enjoyed the delicious kosher food like tuna and egg salad sandwiches and potato chips that Len, Allen, and their team provided.
We then went outside at “the J” and found Rob and Scott getting us ready to plant our own tree. Scott is an experienced gardener whom plants love.
Jon Strunin spoke to us about Jewish and other traditions that help us to understand the links between the Earth, food, and each other. Scott explained how to go about planting our tree, an Vanderwolf’s Pyramid Pine, and everyone took turns helping plant the tree. Afterwards, we came back in and the Ambassadors, volunteers, and Pam helped students to practice the presentation for the afternoon slideshow.
All the students who didn’t have to leave early presented, and the presentation was attended by many families and at least one of their teachers, Harriet Winged from PJA, who was also a volunteer. The students did very well, including those who decided to use hand-written notes. Community Leader Albert Kaufman, Founder of Farm My Yard, and Mike Rosen gave their impressions about the Academy and talked about how students can get involved. Then, students received their appointments as Climate Justice Ambassadors, along with certificates and copies of Tree by Tree and Everything Would Be Alright.
We would like to thank all those involved in this wonderful Academy. The Ambassadors and their families appreciated the work that Pam had put into the Academy. Everyone agreed that Miko, Isaac, and Peter did an awesome job leading the Academy. Thank you also to the generous support of the community volunteers who volunteered at the Academy and in other ways.
We deeply appreciate the kind donation by Caron Blau Rothstein and Len Steinberg of their time, effort, space, patience, and awesome Good Deeds Day t-shirts. Special thanks to Deborah Moon and Oregon Jewish Life for publishing the post-Academy story, and Friends of Trees’ work to find just the right tree that fit in with the Israel-theme of the MJCC landscaping, as well as help received from many others.
Two of the Ambassadors, Denali Cuevas Ullibarry and Joel, signed up to help lead the next Academy, which was only 6 days later!
Find more fantastic photos here!