“Hope is often misunderstood. People tend to think that it is simply passive wishful thinking: I hope something will happen but I am not going to do anything about it. This is indeed the opposite of real hope, which requires action and engagement.” – Jane Goodall
I had always hoped I would get the chance to take my cohort to meet Jane Goodall in person one day. We talk about her regularly throughout each school year and they know she is my idol. We are currently studying ecology and the human impact on ecosystems. They all understand that she is a pioneer and has made it her life’s work to help us understand how we can support and preserve ecosystems all over the world, even now at the age of 90.
I regularly tell my students you have to ask for what you hope for and be persistent, the worst that can happen is that the answer is no. However, you also have to put the work in to deserve the yes answer that you want. Here at Indi-ED we put the work in each and every day so that when we reach out for opportunities for our kids, more often than not the answer is yes. We instill confidence in our kids and we empower them so that they have opportunities to put the work in and make a difference each and every day and continue to build upon it over years.
One of many examples is that over three years ago we applied for a mini grant through Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots so that we could educate our local community and help them understand how they could make a difference as well. My cohort brainstormed how they could do this, created a plan, decided what to name it, how to reward kids who complete the activities, they wrote the pledge at the end, and each student created at least one activity that would teach children and adults how they could support our local marine animal community and marine environment…then COVID hit. We could have thrown in the towel, but we just hit pause. Then we decided to apply for a second grant, after putting together a budget and realizing that we needed additional funds to reach our goal of educating our local community, supporting the animal community, and the environment that they live in.
All of this hard work paid off. In March when it came time to ask if we could represent Roots and Shoots by flying our peace dove for Jane Goodall March 29th, the answer of yes eventually came our way. We were also given the unexpected bonus of tickets to attend her talk. The absolutely epic highlight was when we found ourselves in a magical, once in a lifetime moment of being invited to sit in the green room with Jane Goodal and have a conversation with her about the educational booklet we had worked so hard to creat, give her a copy that all of the kids wrote her a note in and signed, and have her sign a copy for our school. Add to that the indescribable moment of hearing Jane Goodall’s chimpanzee’s call, in person, which literally sends chills up your spine, brings tears to your eyes, and is a moment you will never forget.
The icing on the cake was flying our hand made peace dove extending its 20 foot wingspan 8 feet over the heads of over 1,000 people to the beautiful song that a dear friend of Jane Goodall’s wrote for her. Children and adults alike reached up to allow the colorful series of children’s hand prints along the wispy edge of the white silky wings to gracefully glide over their hands as joy spread across their face and beamed through their eyes. The essence of real hope and a room full of people who left that night ready to take action and engage in a way that would ensure a future our kids deserve was palatable.