NEA Foundation supports new K-12 service-learning curriculum

Through Greg Mortenson's best-selling Three Cups of Tea and the author's Pennies for Peace organization, thousands of educators are inspiring young people nationwide to raise money to build schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The NEA Foundation announced today that educators hoping to join this movement can download a free K-12 service-learning toolkit designed to help them create effective penny-raising campaigns as part of their schools' curriculum.

The Pennies for Peace Toolkit was collaboratively produced by Pennies for Peace and the Pearson Foundation with support from the NEA Foundation and can be found at www.penniesforpeace.org.

It provides a standards-aligned, service learning curriculum for all grade levels, including classroom activities, fact sheets, maps provided by National Geographic, and videos about life and culture in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The toolkit supplies campaign tools that teachers and students can use to engage their local communities, including letter templates to civic leaders, press release templates, stickers, and flyers.

Three Cups of Tea tells the story of Mortenson's 1993 attempt to climb the second highest mountain in the world, K2, in honor of his younger sister, who had recently died. When a member of the group got sick, they turned around, and he got lost in the mountains of Pakistan. He wandered into a poor village, where the chief and his people cared for him. Inspired by their kindness, Mortenson promised to return and build a school.

Since then, Mortenson founded an organization that has used student contributions to establish nearly 100 schools in rural and often volatile areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, providing education to more than 28,000 children, including 18,000 girls, where few education opportunities existed before.

"Education coupled with compassion can move mountains," said Mortenson. "We want our students to understand the issues facing the world, to know that they have the capacity to affect change, and we want them to guide their leaders to share one penny per dollar globally, because the greatest legacy we can give our students is a legacy of peace."

The toolkit is an extension of the new Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Journey to Change the World...One Child at a Time, a young readers edition of this remarkable story published by Puffin, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group.