Submitted by Nan Peterson, Director of Service PK-12 at The Blake School, in Minneapolis, MN.

Every year lower school students at The Blake School in Minneapolis, MN, learn about UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Fund) in assemblies and in classrooms, and understand it is a global organization that saves kids’ lives in over 150 countries by providing clean water, nutrition, medicines, education and aid in emergencies. Blake students give presentations at lower school assemblies, they make posters to advertise the good and important work done by UNICEF and collect change when they trick or treat. They count and sort the donations as part of our math curriculum. They talk about “kids helping kids” and write about what good this collected money can do in the world.

Traditionally lower school students take the collected donations to a local bank, via a school bus, where they learn about banking and teach the bankers about UNICEF. The bank changes their donation into a cashier’s check. This annual field trip to the bank is much anticipated and greatly enjoyed by the students (as well as the adults).

This year our students took an even more thoughtful approach to UNICEF and the trip to the bank. They reviewed some of the basics around the annual trip to the bank, and spent time better understanding the costs involved to travel. They suggested they skip the field trip and give the transportation fee to UNICEF. They gave up an enjoyable afternoon at the bank for the good of the world. This was student leadership at its most meaningful, grass-roots level.