Archive for May, 2013

Be the Change

By Julia M., 8th Grade

One of the best feelings in the world is helping someone, but wouldn’t it be amazing if you could help someone from the opposite side of the world? Kiva.org makes that dream a reality. Over the past nine years that Kiva has been in operation it has helped millions of people all around the world get back on their feet and make a living. It is an easy effective way to change someone’s life and on top of that, it doesn’t cost you a dime. Let’s explore Kiva and learn more about how it really does help people from all different corners of the world.

Although poverty may not be a huge deal in out country, that isn’t the case for others out there. Most people would look at the poverty rates in other countries such as Kenya and think there was absolutely nothing that they could do to help as an individual, but with Kiva there is a way you can help either individually or with a group. Kiva is an easy, inexpensive way to help people struggling with poverty all over the world. Kiva.org is a website that lends money to fund people’s loans. Here’s how it works: first, people who are eligible sign up for Kiva in hopes that over time their loan will be funded by the members of Kiva. Then people like you and me go on and contribute $25 to someone’s loan. Eventually the loan will be fully funded by anyone else who decides to lend to that person. These funds will help those in poverty start a business/ career so they can make a living so soon enough, you will be reimbursed by the person you lent that $25 to. With the money you get back you can either lend again or keep it. So, in reality, it doesn’t cost you a thing to help someone in need.

If you’re anything like me, right now you are probably very skeptical. When I first heard of Kiva I thought that there is no way this could work because I thought no one even knew about it and even if they did how would enough people lend to one person to fund their loans when there are millions of other people to lend to. That was before my class lent $25 to a man in Kenya named James. James is a hard working man who needed $547 in order to buy a dairy cow. With this cow, James can sell the milk and also if the cow reproduces he could sell the baby cows or keep them to sell more milk. James has 2 children and has been doing work for 28 years which shows how hard working he is so right away you know he will put the loan to good use. My class lent our $25 on a Friday and on Monday we got notified that James’s loan had been fully funded. That’s only 4 days! This just goes to show how amazing things can happen when we all come together to help someone. Needless to say, I am no longer skeptical. Kiva really does work.

Ghandi In addition to my class, 24 other people also donated to James. I know it seems like you as an individual can’t make a significant difference in someone’s life but the truth is you actually can. Kiva not only allows you to lend as an individual, it also lets you make a group. An example is Team CANADA. Team CANADA has 5,285 members. They have made 75,972 loans so far and all together they have lent out $2,445,775. 2 million dollars is absolutely amazing and really shows how we can make a difference when we band together. Take Team Europe, they only have 4,103 members but they still funded 95,193 loans which is an average of 23.2 loans per person and have loaned $2,880,000. Together, we can make a difference in lives of people who are in need.

Kiva really is an amazing website. To be able to say you have single-handedly helped a person out of poverty is awesome but even more so when that person is from halfway around the world. As Gandhi once said “Be the change you wish to see in the world” and Kiva makes that both easy and possible.

Read Full Post »

By Laura M. and Ryan M., 6th Grade

Ever wonder why girls and boys play sports separately? Could this mean boys and girls aren’t equal? As we interviewed different people we found out why boys and girls hockey are separated. We found out that most boys believe that girls and boys shouldn’t play together because boys believe that they are more “physical.” We also found out that boys think they are too strong and girls would only get hurt when it comes to playing together. In addition, many boys think that they are too good to play with girls, and that the girls would not be able to keep up.

girls hockeyMany girls think that they should be able to play on the boys teams. We interviewed a fellow middle school girl who would like to remain anonymous, and she said that she could take a check from a boy. She also thought that girls are just as good, maybe even better than the boys. She even claimed that if girls can keep up with boys, they should be able to play together.

Most parents believe that girls and boys should be able to play together only if the girls are fully committed to the sport and they are up to the physical play of the boy’s teams. Parent’s also say that’s it’s an interesting topic and might never have an answer for it. They also argue that it really depends on the size, ability, and mental toughness of the person in question.  For example, if a female hockey player is too small compared to her fellow male players, she may get seriously injured.  Also, we discovered that it depends on who you ask on the matter. Some people may think that girls shouldn’t play with boys, while others may think girls should play with boys if they want to.

Overall, it really depends on too many factors involved for it to be a clear cut issue.

Read Full Post »

By Regan L., 8th Grade

The stage lights shine on the actors, bringing life to the characters inside of them.  No longer do the insecurities and pressures of middle school exist; they melt away when your feet hit the stage.  TheaterImage is an escape for me, a place where I can express myself, be myself, and invigorate my passion and dreams.  This year’s production of Aladdin Jr. is the best performance I have ever been a part of, and I am proud to say that I was involved in such an amazing show, with such a talented, inspiring group of people.  Although it is bittersweet that the show has ended, the memories we’ve made will last forever.

From the moment I walked into the first rehearsal this year, I knew that this year’s production of Aladdin Jr. would be one of the most rewarding, remarkable experiences ever.  I opened the creaky, wooden auditorium doors, the sound of singing, laughter, and the chit-chat of friends filled my ears, and I knew I was at home.  Every day I would sit in school and imagine going to rehearsal, the slow ticking of the clock hands moving along like a snail.  All day all I looked forward to was rehearsal, seeing my new friends, and thriving in an environment with no pressure to be the same as everyone else.  Rehearsal and all of Aladdin Jr. cultivated an environment of creativity and acceptance.  No matter what I did, I always knew that I would never be judged, and that I could be myself no matter what.  Aladdin Jr. was an opposite environment from middle school: a bubble of judgment, harsh opinions, and conforming to others’ expectations.

When I step onstage, I transform into another person.  I can commit to my character, and in an environment of love and imagination, I am able to achieve that easily.  You never feel unapproved of or insecure when you forget a line or don’t sound perfect, because everyone involved in the cast and crew is so kind and understanding.  This year’s production was the first lead role I ever received, so I know I made many mistakes, but I always felt proud of my work, and I always knew that everyone else appreciated the hard work I put in, rather than dwelling on the errors.

As I sat crouched behind the side of the stage on opening night, I couldn’t help but start beaming as the curtains opened, revealing the narrators, colorful set, and the tune of Arabian Nights.  I couldn’t believe that all our hard work had finally paid off.  After long days, hours running lines, scenes, and songs, I couldn’t believe that my journey was coming to an end.  Playing the role of Princess Jasmine, and being able to co-star alongside some of the most creative people I know was awe-inspiring, and I will never forget the memories I have shared with all of them.  The very experience of being involved in such an amazing production was something I will always treasure.  So, wherever my journey in life and theater takes me, I will always hold the city of Agrabah and its citizens in my heart.

Read Full Post »