A Minnesota-based non-profit is spending the next few months partnering children in New York City, Washington D.C., and Northfield with children in Iraq in an effort to build closer ties between the nations.
Middleton will help select about two dozen eighth- and ninth-grade students across Northfield to participate. Each child needs to submit an application in school to be considered.
“Northfield is Middle America, but it’s also a special place. The citizens here are so engaged,” she said.
The children Middleton helps select will attend at least three afternoon gatherings in January, February and March at the Northfield Public Library. There, War Kids Relief organizers will help each Northfield teen begin a pen-pal kind of relationship with an Iraqi child. The youth will exchange letters, artwork and videos. The Northfield children will learn about Iraqi culture by hearing stories, playing Iraqi games and eating samples of the region’s food.
The mission of Children’s Culture Connection is to “help U.S. kids develop an appreciation for other cultures, to foster cultural awareness within our own multiracial communities and to raise money and awareness to help at-risk children throughout the world,” according to the organization’s Web site.
Examples of the artwork and writing of the participating Iraqi children are hanging in the James Gang Hideaway Coffeehouse and Winebar on Division Street. The first War Kids Relief library meeting is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 10 from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Update 11/18 11:30 a.m.: I edited a few grammatical errors this morning and took out the phrase “warring nations” in reference to the U.S. and Iraq.