"The future depends on what you do today." -Mahatma Gandhi
But the Global Chalk Campaign is more than just a social media campaign. It highlights the similarity of students globally: their dedication to education, understanding of the world around them, and making their communities a better place.
"Anytime students in Bozeman or Montana have the opportunity to learn more about the world around them, it is critically important to take advantage of that opportunity," said Erica Schnee, who teaches government at Bozeman High School, and invited CAI to
present the campaign to students in her advanced-placement class. "When I was growing
Peter Jacoby, Sacajawea Middle School
up in Bozeman, Montana felt isolated, not only from the rest of the world, but also from the rest of the country in some ways. There are so many ways the world has changed and become more interconnected. If we don't prepare students to engage in that world and interact with and learn more about other parts of the world, we aren't preparing them to be successfully engaged citizens."
After the CAI presentation to Peter Strand's fifth-grade class at Irving Elementary School, Strand said students were excited to learn about their peers overseas, fascinated with the photographs shown by CAI staff, and empathetic to the difficulties CAI students face when trying
to access education.
"I think students are able to pull from exploring Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan on numerous levels," he said. "What happened today only opens the door. My experience from being at Irving with all of its emphasis on this kind of learning is that the sky is the limit. The kids are mesmerized by where such an exploration can go."
The Global Chalk Campaign gives students a window on cultures that differ from theirs, sparks talk about modern problems and possible solutions, and creates empathy.
Erica Schnee, Bozeman High School
"Our goal is to educate them so the 'fear factor' of the unknown will be minimalized, and they can accept differences and learn to live in a global community without, hopefully, war and discrimination," said Ann Cannata, a social studies teacher at Chief Joseph Middle School.
"Any introduction to how a different part of the world views education, and a reminder of how fortunate they are to be getting one, is always welcome.
Strand added: "Our kids need to make personal connections with people like themselves who happen to live very different lives, in very different cultures, and with very different experiences." The campaign helps students understand other ways of life, reflect on their own opportunities and imagine a world where things are much different, he said. This in turn "helps them to better understand themselves and the world in general. And it nurtures empathy, something essential to citizenship."