Following the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, one of the most enduring images was that of 8-year-old Martin Richard holding a sign that read “No more hurting people. Peace.” Martin was killed when the second bomb went off, and the fact that he had, at a young age, identified one of the significant problems we face in the modern world, namely that despite all the advances in technology we’ve made, people are still willing to kill each other, made his death not just tragic but ironic.
Since then the Martin W. Richard Charitable Foundation has been raising money in his name, and recently, they’ve teamed up with Hasbro, Inc. and Points of Light, an organization dedicated to volunteer service, to try and get kids aged 5 through 18 thinking about ways to promote peace. They’re calling it the Martin Richard Bridge Building Campaign.
The campaign is built around getting kids to volunteer in ways that they find meaningful. They have a website where young volunteers can get ideas, tell their own stories about volunteering and suggest new ways to help out. They’re also giving away 20 grants, $250 each, to young people with the best ideas for how to help change the world.
The website is largely being run by GenerationOn, which is the youth service division of Points of Light. If you scroll down to the bottom of the page though, you can see just how many different groups have pledged their support to the project.
Getting young people interested in volunteering is a worthy cause, as kids aged 5 to 18 can be, well, self-centered. Teaching young people to not only help others but to have empathy for them is important, and frankly we can’t really get started too early on that process. Of course, kids that age sometimes have trouble relating to what adults have to tell them, so giving them a place where they can see what other young people have done seems like a pretty great idea.