CANTON - Children dont have to wait until theyre all grown-up to help others in need.
A new state-wide program called Kids are Key is asking children to identify a need in their community and figure out a gameplan for how they can help other kids. In St. Lawrence County, winning entries will each receive $100 in seed money to help participants launch their project.
Im excited to see the ideas kids come up with, according to Alicia M. Murphy, coordinator of the countys Community Action Angels, the volunteer agency thats coordinating the project. Kids can learn they dont have to wait until theyre grown up to make a difference.
Applicants have until July 6 to submit a written plan explaining how they would help other kids if they had $100. The entries will be reviewed by Community Action Angels Advisory Board.
Three $100 awards will be given: one to a child between ages 6 and 12; one for a family with children and one to a group made up of no more than five children between ages 13 and 18.
Besides seed money, participants will have access to mentors and other resources to help them achieve their goals. Theyll also report on their results.
We want to guide them a little bit, but we also want to let them go through their own thought process, Mrs. Murphy said. This is a great way to help children develop leadership skills, team building and planning skills.
The statewide initiative aims to better understand how children perceive the world, how they see themselves in their communities and how they turn compassion into action.
Mrs. Murphy said children often come up with unique ideas, such as two Ogdensburg girls who started collecting pajamas during the holidays and distributing them to local families.
In Wyoming County, she said an 8-year-old boy noticed that pasta and tomato sauce were available at his communitys food pantry, but he questioned how some people would cook if they didnt own pots and pans.
He decided to start a pots, pans and pasta drive, Mrs. Murphy said. Some kids have a tremendous ability to see others needs. They have this innate desire to help. These are the kids were looking for.
Created last fall, St. Lawrence Countys Community Action Angels is among 22 similar agencies in the state that are serving 29 counties. Locally, the agency is funded through a grant from the Alcoa Foundation and operates through the countys Community Development Program,
Submissions can be made to Community Action Angels, St. Lawrence County CDP, One Commerce Lane, Canton, N.Y. 13617 or by emailing: email@example.com. Those interested can also contact Mrs. Murphy at 386-1102.