tv Teen Kids News KRON September 13, 2014 2:30pm-3:01pm PDT
>> welcome to "teen kids news." i'm siena. let's start with our top story for this week. imagine a classroom without basic supplies to read and write. unfortunately, there are many schools like that in poor countries around the world. you're about to meet an organization working to change that. >> these students in sri lanka are on their way to a special library. what makes it special would be surprising to us -- it has books!
>> room to read is an organization that is opening schools and libraries across the developing world for the poorest of the poor -- hundreds of schools, thousands of libraries so that every child everywhere is no longer denied an education because they were born in the wrong place at the wrong time. >> john wood is an amazing guy. he used to be a big executive at microsoft until he went on vacation in nepal. that's when he saw the desperate need for books and libraries. he changed the course of his own life to change the lives of children all over the world. >> when i was growing up in pennsylvania, we had actually a bookmobile that came to our town. and we think of this kind of as a "nepalese yak-mobile." we've got our yak loaded with books, and we're about to head off to go to a secondary school here to deliver about 500 books to help them start their first library. >> when john arrives with his "yak-mobile," just look at the
reaction. reading isn't just fun. it's a way for them to connect to the world beyond their isolated community. >> "what does shirash like?" >> he likes ice cream. >> he likes ice cream. "what do annie and onnie like?" >> "what do annie and onnie like? they like chicken curry." >> [ laughing ] they like chicken curry. do you like chicken curry? yes? okay. >> in nepal, children express gratitude with flowers and the traditional "namaste." >> namaste! >> there are also grateful children in africa... cambodia... india... and laos. since it started, room to read has reached more than 1,600 schools, and built 15,000 libraries -- libraries filled with books published in the local language.
this is made possible by donations of all sizes, including help from american teens. >> students throughout america have gotten very involved in room to read. we have a movement called "students helping students." so, students pick a goal, they pick a country, and we don't dictate to them, "here's what you need to do. here's how you need to do it." we say, "here's the menu. you can decide. you decide on a project. you decide on a country. we'll tell you how much it's going to cost, and then we'll report back to you on how the money was spent. >> it costs $30,000 for room to read to open a school. that's a lot for teens to collect. >> what's great about this is that no one individual probably is going to raise enough money to build a school. but if 20 or 30 or 50 or 100 students come together and make it a project, they're going to do it together, and it's going to give them a great feeling of saying, when they hear about poverty, when they hear about global issues, they're going to be able to say, "you know what? i did something." >> by just raising $250, you can sponsor a scholarship for a girl. in many parts of the world, girls are not able to go to school.
>> when you think about the fact that over 100 million girls in the developing world woke up this morning and did not go to school, that to me screams opportunity. it's an opportunity to get out there and make positive change in the world and to say no longer should we live in a world where any child, boy or girl, is denied education. >> if you're looking for a great service project, read my lips -- "room to read." to find out how you can help, there's a link on our website.
it's one of the most important documents in history -- the u.s. constitution. but how much do you know about it? harry tells us about a special program to bring the historic document to life. >> ever since 1787, the constitution has been guaranteeing our freedoms. protecting those freedoms is the mission of the aclu -- the american civil liberties union. susan herman is the president of the aclu. welcome. >> thank you very much. thank you for having me on your show. >> our pleasure. so, in 2004, congress made september 17th "constitution day." then, a few years ago, president obama expanded that, creating "constitution week." why is it so important to celebrate the constitution? >> i think there are two reasons why it's really important to celebrate and to learn about the constitution. the first is that the constitution is our founding document. so, to be an american and not know what's in the constitution is like playing a game without knowing what the rules are. i think the second reason why it's really important to know what's in the constitution is
that the constitution isn't only about history. it's not only about what happened in the 18th century. it's about what happens to us every day. so, to give you an example of how the constitution is relevant to all of your lives and the lives of students all over the country, without the constitution, students would not have a right to disagree with their school administration or with the government. they wouldn't have the right to express their own viewpoints. girls might not have an opportunity to participate in sports. the school could discriminate and have fewer girls teams than they have boys teams. and school officials or police could search your cellphone whenever they wanted, to just find out what you're up to. so, whether you know it or not, the constitution is protecting you every day. so, it's really important to know what the extent of your rights are and what that means. >> wow, that's really interesting. so, tell us about the aclu's interactive program for students. >> oh, we're really proud of our interactive program. it's called constitution day, brought to you by the aclu. and as you were saying, the constitution day is having its
10th anniversary this year. and this is the second year that we've had constitution day brought to you by the aclu. our primary audience here is kids in 5th to 9th grade. and so, what we're trying to do is to have interactive games, programs, trivia, things that would be really fun for kids so that learning about the constitution doesn't have to be dry and boring. >> i see. now, the aclu also created a special public-service announcement? >> we did create a public-service announcement. and the point is, one of the things that we did in this announcement is it's animated. and what we want kids to do is to be really looking forward to constitution day, to realize that it can be fun, as well as interesting to find out about the constitution. >> okay. cool. so, let's take a look at that psa. [ upbeat dance music plays ]
that was great. and pretty clever how you played off the initials aclu to create the line "get a clu," obviously without the "e." >> wouldn't it be interesting if there was a constitutional right to spell words your own way? >> yes. with my spelling tests, i would actually do very well with that. now, constitution day is what's called a "federal observance." but you want to make it more than that, don't you? >> yeah, we're proposing to make constitution day a federal holiday. we figured the declaration of independence has its own day, july 4th, and the constitution is certainly as important as that. so, what we'd like to see -- as you were saying president obama has declared constitution week. so, kids are going to have plenty of time in school to be studying the constitution. but we would like constitution day not only to be limited to the schools.
the aclu brought a case over 40 years ago on behalf of a student, a middle school student called mary beth tinker, who wanted to wear a black armband to school one day to protest the war in vietnam because she disagreed with it. and the supreme court ruled in our favor, and she won the case. and what the supreme court said was the constitution does not stop at the schoolhouse door. so, that's one important thing to note, that the constitution does belong in school, and it's really important for students to study the constitution. but we don't think that the constitution should be limited only to students and only to schools. we think the constitution should be going out the schoolhouse door, as well as in the schoolhouse door. and what we would like to see is constitution day be a federal holiday, so it's not only the schools, but everybody in the country who would be paying attention to the constitution and learning more about it. >> how can students across the country help with that? >> good question. we're sponsoring a petition on the whitehouse.gov website, and what students can do is they can ask their parents and teachers
to sign the petition. >> there's also a contest that the aclu is sponsoring called the "freedom funnies"? >> yes, that's a cartoon contest. and what we're doing there is awarding $25,000 in prizes to the three top winners, $25,000 altogether. and any school that has 5th to 9th grade in it is going to be eligible. so, all kids could tell their teachers, suggest that their teachers help them to join the contest and participate. we have a great panel of celebrity judges. there's the author of "the dork diaries," rachel renee russell. there's also nathan j. hale, who's the author of "nathan's hazardous tales," bob mankoff, who's a big cartoonist withe new yorker and various other places, and jen sorensen, who's an award-winning cartoonist. so, i think this is going to be really exciting. we had last year for our first year we sponsored an art contest, and students at a number of schools submitted murals. so, schools all over the country really got to participate in this contest and
they got to win money for their schools. plus, they got some great art for their walls. so, i think it would be great if we got a lot of participation in the cartoon contest. it would be really fun. >> interesting. where can we go to get more information? >> well, you can get more information about all of this on the aclu website. you could go to... >> well, thank you so much for speaking with us today. >> it was my pleasure. >> because the u.s. constitution plays such a vital role in all of our lives, it shouldn't just be something we think about once a year. as the aclu puts it, "constitution day is every day." >> before you drop that dollar in the school vending machine, check out my story. your favorite snacks could be hurting the environment.
day are threatening the lives of animals like orangutans and tigers. alexa reports on how some students are fighting back. >> these are teens with a mission. they're working to save the rainforests in indonesia and malaysia and the endangered animals that live there. we really need to take a big part in helping our environment. >> this became their battleground. they fought to remove some snacks from their school vending machine. but it wasn't easy. >> the biggest challenge i faced was other students and teachers liking the products in the vending machines that we were taking out, and they didn't want them removed. >> those products all had one particular ingredient in common. >> the entire rainforest ecosystem is endangered because of palm oil. >> palm oil is used to produce many things -- makeup, biodiesel fuel for cars, and, yes, even some of our favorite snacks. in fact, the world wildlife fund says 50%
of the packaged foods found in grocery stores are made with palm oil. >> the way they make, harvest palm oil is they cut down an area of rainforest -- they actually burn it -- and then they use that area to plant a palm-tree farm, where they use the fruit of the palm tree to make the oil. >> to understand this issue, you need to understand some definitions. "sustainable palm oil" comes from farmers who are helping to protect the rainforests. "non-sustainable palm oil" comes from farmers who are hurting the ecosystem. >> they're destroying orangutan habitats and habitats of all animals in the indonesian rainforest. >> jordan started researching non-sustainable palm oil as a sixth grade current events project. he realized he wanted to do something about it. so, he recruited his classmates. >> i helped spread the word. >> i did some online posters and banners. >> i was getting petitions
signed by people. i wrote the petition along with a couple of friends who helped me edit it. >> i wrote letters to congressmen and representatives. >> in most cases, the students get to a certain point, and then the project kind of dies down. but this group definitely went above and beyond what was expected of them. >> all that hard work got noticed -- and got results. >> my group and i, we went to the assistant superintendent for business in the district, and we proposed to him our campaign and what we wanted to do, and we asked him if we could remove all the non-sustainable products from the vending machines. >> the recommendations that were presented were based on fact, on research, on concern for the environment, and that's what you want in our young population. that's what you want in our students. >> mr. rubbo gave his okay to ban the offending snacks. not wanting to anger powerful food companies, jordan doesn't want to reveal on tv the names of the products that were removed.
but they included some popular choices. >> to find out if food has palm oil in it, you have to look at the ingredients list on the nutrition facts label on the side of the package. then, if it says palm oil or palm kernel oil, which are two different ways of saying palm oil, you can go to our website to find out if it's sustainable or not. >> that website is... and one more thing... palm oil has a lot of unhealthy saturated fat -- another reason to watch what you eat. >> keeping fit is a challenge for all of us. now imagine what it's like if you are in treatment for cancer. i pledge allegiance to the flag
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>> if you're healthy, you probably take fitness for granted. running and jumping and dancing -- no problem. but as rachel reports, kids recovering from cancer need help getting back in action. >> every 39 minutes, an american kid is diagnosed with cancer. the good news is that survival rates are higher than ever. >> ready? set? go! >> but when kids get through treatment, they face a new challenge -- getting back in shape. >> while the kids have the heart and have the mind to get back into physical activity, their bodies sometimes just aren't ready. >> a brain tumor and leukemia kept ryan on the sidelines, while his classmates were on the field. >> it was a little hard thinking, like, watching them do it and thinking that i'll never be able to play football, maybe, like that stuff. >> ryan is now working hard to lose the extra weight he put on during treatment.
but kids like ryan risk injury if they try to do too much too soon. that's why nationwide children's hospital in ohio started a program called "play strong." as a part of the program, the hospital even has a trainer to help kids get back on track. >> let's not just get them better. let's get them back to what they want to do. let's get them back to the way they were before, and if we can, let's get them back better than they were before. >> and here's something to remember. cancer survivors like ryan may not always be able to keep up with the rest of us. but when it comes to courage, they're often miles ahead. >> we are somers girl scout troop 2971. >> and we are at the... >> blaze!
>> welcome to the "great jack-o'-lantern blaze." it's held every fall at van cortlandt manor. this historic location is not far from where washington irving's legendary headless horseman chased ichabod crane. [ horse neighing ] [ man yells ] >> we are in the midst of "sleepy hollow" country. this is the home of the american heritage of halloween, and we've always had fantastic halloween events in this area, and this is probably one of the best. >> more than 4,000 pumpkins are used to create all sorts of clever and spooky scenes. for some displays, artificial pumpkins are needed, but most are real. >> we are in front of our jurassic park installation, where we have giant, life-sized dinosaurs that are constructed of, in some cases, more than a hundred pumpkins. we sketch them from anatomy books and create them so that they're accurate.
each pumpkin represents a specific bone on the dinosaur. >> everywhere you walk, you see imagination at work. >> i think this is definitely one of our most impressive exhibits. this is a huge spider web, 50 foot around, and you've got a mother spider on the web, you've got little baby spiders along the ground, and it's just a really fantastic arachnoid exhibit. >> [ laughs ] i don't like spiders, but this is really cool. >> these are kind of fun spiders, you know? i think even people who don't like spiders will enjoy this exhibit because it is so impressive. >> and if you're wondering how all these jack-'o-lanterns get lit, help arrives just before sundown. girl scouts from local troops are among the many volunteers who take on the task. >> me and my partner maggie lit 60 pumpkins. >> i did 67 with my partner sophia. >> usually as girl scouts, we do a lot of trips together, and last year we did this, and we loved it so much that we decided to do it again this year. >> your partner holds the
pumpkin back just a little bit so that the wind does not blow the candle out, and then you flick the lighter on and then you light the candle, and you put it back down. >> the man behind these scenes spends months coming up with new ideas. then, he works with local artists to bring them to life. >> i draw inspiration from the landscape. i get a lot of ideas from the actual history that took place here. >> but not all the inspiration is local. you may have heard of stonehenge in england -- you know, the place with all those ancient stones? well, here they have pumpkin henge. [ eerie music plays ] by the way, those things floating outside pumpkin henge aren't dementors. they're druid ghosts. could you carve a pumpkin as well as these people did? >> no way. that's like impossible. >> and also while you're walking around, take a look above and look and see if you can find king kong perched on a building. >> i think it's really cool how there's so many different
designs. there's, like, sunflowers and caterpillars and spider webs. i think it's just really cool how they carved them. >> could you tell me a little bit about this exhibit? >> sure. this is perhaps my favorite exhibit here. this is a buzzing beehive, and you can see all the little bees that are buzzing around the hive, and this is something that was created first time last year and i just think it's fantastic, and i'm glad we brought it back. >> i think it's very cool. this is our first time here. so, we're really enjoying it. >> i think it's pretty impressive because to carve all those pumpkins, it must take a lot of time. >> it's so creative with all the pumpkins everywhere. it's so much fun. >> it was pretty cool seeing all the faces on the jack-o'-lanterns. >> the blaze includes a display featuring celtic designs from ireland. it's a way of paying tribute to the people who brought us their craving for carving. >> jack-o'-lanterns actually came to america as part of an irish tradition, where the irish used to carve faces out of turnips. and when they emigrated to america, pumpkins are native to north america, and we began to
carve pumpkins, and that's where jack-o'-lanterns came from. >> i got to tell you. this is really cool. the blaze is different every year. to find out more, check out the link on our website. for "teen kids news," i'm carly. >> that wraps up our show, but we'll be back soon with more "teen kids news." thanks for joining us and have a great week.