“Of all the world’s natural resources, children are the most precious. In them lie the elements of imagination, the building blocks of innovation, the fundamentals of peace, the capacity to love immeasurably. No investment in their growth is too small, or too large; and no responsibility is greater than raising and educating them well.” Stephen Wunderli
When looking for world solutions, we often need look no further than the children around us. Walk through the halls at Woodrow Wilson an Elementary School in Salt Lake City and see the many different colors, cultures and religions...watch them as they sit together at the same lunch table: two Muslim girls from Somalia, three Hispanic girls from Mexico, a little redhead from Utah. They laugh and chatter away. In this small world, there are teachers who kindly teach and encourage, even though there are 31 languages spoken in the school. There are mentors who volunteer to help the children learn, and after school, a troupe of teenagers will arrive to play games with them. Who are these teenagers? Basketball players, girls from the theatre program and kids who love technology---they are kids from all different backgrounds. Why do they spend a precious afternoon entertaining and teaching elementary school kids from an area one would think had no promise? Because they want to! They are part of Friend-2-Friend. A group of kids of all ages from the Olympus High School network that want to make a difference to their communities and the ones beyond their borders. They reach out to others, and learn something about themselves in the process.
Friend-2-Friend began 17 years ago at Cottonwood Elementary School. The idea was to connect with school kids in India--they studied in an open courtyard and many did their homework in the dust. Each year the kids from Cottonwood held fundraisers. They picked penpals and sent letters back and forth. At the end of the school year, they sent a check for $25,000 to Vudumudi, India to help them build a school. At the start of the next year a photo arrived of the new school; a square building the size of a two-car-garage the locals built using the funds for materials. Other donors were inspired by what kids could do, they added more rooms, electricity, and seven years later, the kids of Vudumudi had computers and the Internet. In the entrance to the school, there is a kind of shrine: A large photo of the kids from Cottonwood Elementary, smiling and waving to their new friends.
The following year they did the same thing in Mwambalazi, Africa.
It’s amazing what kids can do when you give them an opportunity: how they care about each other, how they find solutions.
Today, seeing so much need in our own community, Friend-2-Friend reaches across the street instead of around the world. Their simple mission is to bring the diversity of kids together to solve the problems in their own communities: Mentoring, improving playgrounds, libraries, remodeling homes and apartments, collecting hygiene kits and baby blankets, peer tutoring in math and reading, stocking food pantries at schools, volunteering time in hospitals, and work alongside other foundations and nonprofits to collectively make an impact. Under direction of a parent volunteer board that connects with schools, foundations and businesses across the valley, Friend-2-Friend kids commit to a year’s worth of service and beyond.
Our core belief at Friend-2-Friend is: “Give children a chance to care and they will lead the way.”
If you would like to support Friend-2-Friend with a donation, volunteer, or have a project you think F2F would be interested in, email Jen Wunderli at: firstname.lastname@example.org If you are a business or an individual who would like to donate one time or on once every year please go to the donate button on the website…all donations are tax deductible and goes to fund only projects, events, t-shirts, and scholarships. Friend-2-Friend operates under the Granite Education Foundation’s 501©3.
Thank you, we appreciate your support!