This is the final edition of the Idea Clearing House newsletter. We have been publishing a newsletter since 1994.

It is a bittersweet moment for Jane and me to announce that we are retiring from playing an active role in Kids Can Make A Difference (KIDS). Due to our advanced stage of maturity (both in our 80s), we need to step back and pass the baton to the good folks at the International Education & Resource Network (iEARN). As some of you are aware, KIDS has been a program of iEARN since 2009. Before we tell you about what will be, let us review how we got here from there.

It seems like only yesterday that at a board meeting of WhyHunger, Jane leaned over and whispered in my ear that if we were going to ever make a difference in hunger and poverty, it had to start with young people. We never imagined that that was the seed that would grow into KIDS.

At that time, we were living in Maine, and on a cold winter morning in February 1994 Jane and I faced one hundred 6th grade students from the York Middle School. At that time, Jane was a Doctoral student at Teachers College, Columbia University in Nutrition Education. Two of the middle school teachers at the York Middle School asked us to participate in a year-long government funded program dealing with hunger and poverty. We did not know then that this encounter would be the official start of what became KIDS.

Based on this experience with the York Middle School students we started to reach out to other schools in the New England and New York City areas to see if they were interested in our speaking to their students about hunger and poverty. Our source for teachers was local newspapers and word-of-mouth. In no time at all, by the end of our first year we had 20 active schools stretching from New York City to the Canadian border.

KIDS was off and running!

Jane was quick to realize that the missing ingredient in KIDS was the lack of a teacher guide to complement the work we were doing in the schools. What we needed was a dedicated teacher with outstanding writing skills who knew or was willing to learn about hunger and poverty. Fortunately, we knew a unique person (our cousin) who possessed these qualities. Stephanie Kempf agreed to join our team. She did her research and devoted over two years of her life to developing the KIDS Teacher Guide, Finding Solutions To Hunger Kids Can Make A Difference, first published by WhyHunger in September 1997. The last printing of the guide was in 2009, and to this day teachers are still downloading the free guide from our website.

In addition to building a network of schools we started to reach out to people who were active in searching for solutions to hunger, inequality, and poverty. We were fortunate to entice a small group of educators, teachers, and activists to KIDS. They became our Advisory Board, and we owe a great deal of thanks to them for their guidance and continued dedication to keeping KIDS relevant.

When we joined iEARN it was understood by both parties that a dichotomy would exist. An iEARN project was to be developed for the iEARN Collaboration Center and the free-standing KIDS website would continue to provide information for visitors. Unfortunately, the website no longer will be maintained due to the anticipated new iEARN website. Once Jane and I leave the scene, no one will be available to keep the site relevant and operational.

The strength of KIDS continues to be the outstanding group of dedicated teachers involved in the program at the classroom level. KIDS major source of teachers came through KIDS becoming a program of iEARN. KIDS will now be folded into iEARN and be part of the family of programs for years to come.

iEARN is the future of KIDS!

Jane and I thank you, the readers of our Idea Clearing House publication, for all you have done for KIDS for so many years. Our hope is that you will continue to do so in the future. We believe that under the guidance of iEARN, the best is yet to come.

For those of you who would like to say goodbye and/or share a KID’S moment with me, please contact me at kidscanmakeadifference@outlook.com.

I would love to hear from you, and I promise to respond.




About us

Kids Can Make a Difference is a program of iEARN (International Education and Resource Network), the world's largest non-profit global network. iEARN enables teachers and youth to use the Internet and other technologies to collaborate on projects that enhance learning and make a difference in the world.

eliminate hunger
a shot of hope
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