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Spirit of America, Part #2

September 2, 2011
By Andrew Lubin

“What you’re doing here tonight is changing the world,” MajGen Richard Mills, USMC, told the crowd. But this wasn’t the usual VFW or USMC-oriented group of adults Mills usually addresses; this was “Ethics in Action,” an enrichment class at Windward High School in Los Angeles. The class was about to engage in a Skype video exchange program with the Kodoala Drab School (Garmsir area, Helmand Province), and Mills was explaining to the students how hungry the Afghan children are for education. “In Iraq, Haiti, Bosnia, the children all want candy. Here they want paper and pencils; they’re fascinated by literacy.”

Arranged in May by Spirit of America, a non-profit foundation (www.spiritofamerica.com) dedicated to helping Americans serving abroad assist local people in need, it was a hi-tech meeting from one a school in of the poorest countries in the world with one of the wealthiest.

Kodoala Drab School was rebuilt by the US Marines after it had been shuttered by the anti-education Taliban. The goal of educating the local children, but as is so often the case in poor countries, it lacked basic school supplies.  In concert with the Marines, Spirit of America linked Windward and Kodoala Drab, and the Windward students quickly took up the challenge and sent backpacks of school supplies. From notebooks to pencils to glue, the Windward students and Spirit of America sent 1,000+ lbs of supplies to their new Afghan friends.

Windward is a traditional college-preparatory school with a unique edge; they encourage students to participate in a range of academic and extra-curricular experiences that foster social growth, responsibility, and personal development,  in fact include 40 hours community service as a graduation requirement. This was a unique opportunity for the students to learn about a different part of the world as well as see what they could do to assist.

As the Skype session progressed, the Americans presented photos of their families and hobbies, while two students from Kodoala Drab asked such questions as whether the Windward students carried cellphones, were they on Facebook, whether they liked to cook and did they have high marks in school.

One of the Windward students even spoke a few words in Pashto, the main Afghan language, as the Marines handed out backpacks to the Kodoala students that had been shipped to them full of school supplies stuffed by Windward students.

The program was successful, and Spirit of America founder and CEO Jim Hake told Leatherneck that plans were in the works to expand the program to 100 schools. The next ten are in the Los Angeles – San Diego – northern Virginia area…any interest from our loyal readers for your school to be involved in the program?? Leave a note below!



school suggestion

I'd like to nominate Riverbend HS in Fredericksburg, VA!


PS: Amazing stuff ...

Afghan - US school kids

Another good one Andrew! Wonder if Pennsbury HS, Bucks County PA might be interested?


Finally - no more moderating!!

Marine Mom

Changing the world!

Kudos to Windward students. Engage and change the world. 

Nominating Schools

Great post Andrew.  We welcome nominations of potential US high schools as participants in School Partners/Afghanistan; ideally people will email us directly with suggested schools, along with a little about how (and with whom) you're connected to the school. Thanks and S/F.

Roger Jackson
Director, School Partners/Afghanistan
Spirit of America

SoA rocks!

That's building a long-term foundation! What are they doing in the Somerset County NJ area?

Father of a Marine

SoA Part 2

Well done Andrew; keep on getting the word out. S/F

Wonderful linkages!

It is so important for our children to learn about other countries, and especially those countries where our troops are working and fighting!  This should be so helpful in putting Afghanistan into context for the kids in the U.S. and providing further linkages between our countries!

Andrew, you said I would love it, and of course you were right!  :-)  Keep up the great work - we need more good news from Afghanistan!


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