Murray Kids Learn: “You CAN make a difference”  

by Joan Rosen, Mamaroneck School District

(February 28, 2006) "You can make a difference." This was the message heard by about thirty Murray Avenue third, fourth and fifth graders and their parents on Wednesday night, February 15, from four of the founders of Kids For World Health (KFWH), a non-profit group dedicated to educating and understanding the global fight against neglected diseases. The founders, now eighth graders at Hommocks Middle School, started the group when they were third graders in Kay Kobbe’s class at Chatsworth Avenue School. They learned about sleeping sickness during their study of Africa and from a video shown on the television news show, 60 Minutes. Kay Kobbe told the Murray group that her students started KFWH because they cared passionately about other people and found a voice to help make a difference in the world.

KFWH founders
Hommocks Quartet: Four of the founders of Kids for World Health were at Murray to encourage students there to start their own chapter of the organization.

The founders encouraged the Murray students to join their organization, not just to help in their fight against sleeping sickness, but more importantly, to learn to recognize injustice in the world and then to take action as they did.

Also presenting to the group was Jan Feinman, parent of a founder, who got involved because of how much her son got from the work with KFWH. She recalled listening to her son and his third grade friends talk about issues of global health. The third graders learned about what life is like for children in other parts of the world and were able to converse with professionals at the World Health Organization and Doctors Without Borders. As eighth graders, many of the founders are still doing research and looking for other ways to stay involved in this work.

Murray Kindergarten teacher Patrice Schwartz, and computer lab teacher Nina Eisenberg organized the evening as a kick-off to starting a chapter of KFWH at Murray Avenue School. Ms. Schwartz has wanted to start a chapter of the group ever since she heard about the work that fellow teacher Kay Kobbe and others did at Chatsworth. “This group is about kids helping other kids in the world one step at a time,” said Ms. Schwartz. Interested students can contact Nina Eisenberg at the Murray Avenue School.

Joan Rosen is the public information officer for Mamaroneck Schools.