Students across all 13 grade levels and nine buildings in the Half Hollow Central School District have helped raise $126,410 in this year’s Students Rebuild Challenge by creating 21,408 self-portraits. The challenge was launched by the Bezos Family Foundation, a foundation run by the parents of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. This is the fourth year in a row the district has participated, helping to raise a total of over $229,000 to support a variety of initiatives to help youth across the globe.
Students Rebuild seeks to inspire young people to connect, learn, and take collective action on critical global issues. This happens through annual challenges which offer young people a chance to learn about an issue, connect with global peers and to create a simple yet symbolic art piece. The Bezos Family Foundation matches each piece of art that is submitted with funding for the recipients of that year’s challenge.
This year the challenge focused on ‘Facing Difference’ and students were challenged to create a meaningful self-portrait that reflects their sense of identity. The challenge was described by the foundation as “a way to help educators worldwide empower young people to reflect and take action toward building understanding, empathy, and peace.” Each portrait submitted generated $3, or $6 during a special promotional period, from the Bezos Family Foundation, up to $600,000, to support programs run by CARE and Search for Common Ground which help youth on different sides of conflict build peace. This year students from Half Hollow Hills created 21,408 self-portraits for the challenge.
“As in past years, we asked every student in the Half Hollow Hills Central School District to participate in this challenge,” said Jessica Nolan, a social studies teacher at High School East who helps organize the district’s participation in the challenge. “This was a tremendous opportunity to show all students that a little effort can create a lot of good!”
Past challenges from the foundation have included creating hands to support Save the Children’s programs empowering youth in Nicaragua and Indonesia to rise into a life they dream for themselves; creating pinwheels to support the International Rescue Committee and Global Nomads Group to help Syrian youth from conflict areas recover from crisis and grow into happy and healthy adults; and creating bookmarks to support Save the Children’s Literacy Boost programs in Latin America (Peru), Africa (Mali) and Asia (Nepal).
The Bezos Family Foundation is a private, independent foundation established by Jackie and Mike Bezos, who along with their children and spouses, serve as directors. Their vision is that all young people are prepared to achieve their full potential and make a meaningful contribution to society.
Information provided by the Half Hollow Hills school district.