IMAGINE PEACE: Me to We Wishing Tree

by Sherry Frachey, Iles Elementary School, Springfield IL

That’s the question.
What would you wish for?

Here are a few responses:

I wish for a headline reading: “Cure for Cancer Found!”
I wish for no more war.
I wish people would put downs their guns and hold hands instead.
I wish everyone has a home, food, clean water and an education.
I wish people would love and take care of the earth.
I wish for no more jails. No one would have to steal because they would have what they wanted and needed. (another students chimes in:
Hey, we could turn all those jail cells into apartments and everyone would have a home!)

Sound far fetched? Well, once cell phones and personal computers seemed magical and unattainable! So, these few examples from our Iles IMAGINE PEACE Me to We Wishing Tree might be more attainable than we may think.

We are working to support the United Nations Millennium Development Goals:
1. Every child has access to food and clean water.
2. Every child has access to an education.
3. Every child has access to medical care.
4. Every family has an opportunity for sustainable development.

And this is not merely wishful thinking. We are designing “action plans” in order to attain some of our goals. In addition to our awareness building classes, where students learn about what it is like to be a child in developing countries, our school takes action by helping kids in East Asia and Haiti. Our students feel empowered to look at the issues and create solutions.

For the tree, each student traced their hands (to be the leaves) and wrote their wishes for peace and justice in the world. This is a voluntary activity and every student participated! That really shows a commitment to leadership, caring and growth! A local artist is creating the tree trunk and branches so it can become a permanent interactive art piece for the school, with the leaves being interchangeable depending on the seasons and types of service learning.

In February, a team from Free the Children will visit Iles to present an all school assembly and leadership workshops for 5th and 6th grade students. The emphasis will be on creating compassionate and caring global citizens through awareness and team building.

In April, we will celebrate the culmination of these activities at our Seventh Annual Iles Writer’s Conference entitled, “Me to We”.

Please take a look at the video above to see a miracle.
Beautiful, shining and hopeful faces creating the change they want to see in the world. And stay tuned for our continuing adventures!

Sherry Frachey
Iles Elementary School

Response from Yoko:

Dear Children of Iles Elementary School

I want you to know that I am totally impressed with what you are doing and your creativity.
Remember we are all together.
I love you!