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Planting the seed for change. A few weeks ago, I talked to my students about how it only takes one person to make a difference in the world…one person who cares enough to solve a problem and help others.

I introduced to them a man named Jadav Peyang from India.

Most people have never heard of him but he is known as the Forest Man of India. He started planting trees by hand in 1979 after a heat wave and monsoon wiped out the natural habitat of his village. He was a young kid back then and asked the elders what he could do to help protect the animals and the people from these disasters. “Is there something we can do to help fix this problem?” The elders answered, “Of course, there’s always something we can do.” They gave him some bamboo shoots for planting to provide shade for the animals and protect the land from erosion. Jadav planted the bamboo shoots. And he has planted every day since.

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At 47 years old, Jadav has not stopped planting. Today, there is a forest bigger than the size of New York’s Central Park. Jadav’s forest is over 1360 acres today! Now, the animals are back and the erosion has decreased. He is a reminder to us- adults and kids- that one person can make a difference in the world. I hoped that my students would understand this idea and be inspired by this story.

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Change blooms. As educators, we hope that our students learn something from our lessons. One afternoon, I was walking through a classroom (Ms. Almanza’s) and noticed some kids working on their computers, discussing a plan to help the people affected by the devastating hurricanes in Texas and Florida. It was a part of a class project but they wanted to see if they could do more. They asked me if they could actually do a fundraiser at school and send the money to a charity to help the victims. I immediately thought about Jadav asking the village elders and responded to them, “Of course, there’s always something we can do”.

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Allie, Manmeet, Leuel, Andrey, and Ms. Almanza

Not only did they come up with a flyer that they posted throughout our campus and sent home to parents, they took care of the little details. They made announcements, bought candy for donors, prepared envelopes for teachers, made a video, and even went on a morning radio show to do promote their efforts.

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These students have raised almost $2000 to help the victims of the hurricanes. They’ve also inspired others to do the same. Our teachers are now talking about donating our Scholastic dollars and bonus points to help other schools hit by the hurricanes.

Just like Jadav, these students remind us that one person (in this case, four people) can make a world of difference.


Click here for the video that Allie, Manmeet, Leuel, and Andrey made.

Click here for a link to an award-winning documentary about The Forest Man of India.

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