This Power of Children Award Winner is Building Cultural Bridges
The Power of Children Awards at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis recognize students in grades six through eleven for their philanthropic impact. To date, 72 winners have been selected for their dedication to their projects that contribute to changing the world. In 2018, six winners were chosen. One winner, Peyton Klein, is being acknowledged for her project, Global Minds Initiative.
The phrase, “inclusion makes us stronger,” truly applies to Global Minds Initiative. Once Peyton once realized that a student wearing a hijab in her school in Pittsburgh, PA, spoke English, she was embarrassed at her assumption that other student did not understand the language. Peyton began interacting with the student and they soon became best friends. She then realized that people need to work towards understanding and supporting English as a second language (ESL) students, instead of making them to feel unaccepted.
Peyton began the Global Minds Initiative with her fellow high school ESL students through individual partnerships with native English speaking students. The students bond while completing homework, discussing activities centered on diversity, human rights, equality, practicing language skills, going to movies, restaurants, and local attractions. Peyton is proud of the societal changes around her school since Global Minds Initiative started. A simple wave or hello in the hallway makes a difference in helping someone feeling better. This group also connects with local organizations to create a bigger impact for the community.
Peyton has changed her perception of people through this project. She realizes if you do not have an open mind, you can miss out on meeting great people and sharing great experiences. Developing this program makes Peyton constantly challenge herself. She has been able to expand to seven other states, Canada, and China. Through fundraisers, awards, and donations, she has also raised over $100,000. The money helps to provide student grants. It also helps with the creation of toolkits that include curriculum resources, shirts, buttons, and materials to help familiarize others about Global Minds Initiative. This initiative helps further community engagement.
Peyton says “it starts by changing your own mind first.” Only you can change the way you do and think about things. “There are real people behind every race and religion," says Peyton.
Once we come to that understanding, great things can happen.