An organization in New York, with direct ties to Gander, is asking residents of this province and those affected by 9-11 to participate in a Loukoumi Make A Difference Foundation essay writing contest to commemorate all those who went above and beyond the call of duty to help stranded passengers.
This generational act of kindness has led to yet another project that will forever commemorate those people, as their stories will be presented to the public in a planned book titled “Inspiring Stories That Make A Difference!”
“I am excited about this project and it is my hope that everyone will participate in this initiative,’’ children’s author and lawyer Nick Katsoris said Thursday.
“The ‘Come From Away’ producers reached out to us as they saw the direct correlation with what we were doing with Loukoumi and what they stood for. They told us, ‘We love what you are doing,’ so they invited us to a performance.’’
Katsoris said this led to a multi-tier project to get the common-core message of both groups out to the public, and this led to hatching the idea of the essay writing contest.
Katsoris wrote the first book in 2005 in the Loukoumi children's book series about a fluffy little lamb named Loukoumi that just wants to make the world a better place.
Since then, the eight-book series has inspired children to follow Loukoumi the lamb's philanthropic lead.
Based on the books, Katsoris formed the Loukoumi Make A Difference Foundation, a non-profit organization that teaches and unites more than 100,000 children annually to make a difference in their lives and the lives of others by encouraging them to make a difference in their own voices for causes that mean something to them.
The foundation's good deed programming is featured in a good deed curriculum at more than 300 schools in the United States, on Loukoumi Good Deed Bus Tours around the country, at the Make A Difference with Loukoumi Exhibit at the Westchester Children's Museum and in the Make A Difference With Loukoumi television special.
“Come From Away” takes place in Gander, and is the ultimate story of kindness, about how a small town embraced more than 7,000 airline passengers whose planes were diverted there on 9-11.
The Loukoumi Foundation will publish more than 50 stories by students, about wonderful things these kids may have done that will inspire others.
These students will be selected from the towns that “Come From Away” will visit on tour and also from schools that have been working with the Loukoumi Foundation, and the foundation also aims to have stories from children in Gander.
Submissions are due by May 1.
Students may email submissions to [email protected]
“Come From Away” began in 2011 when David Hein and Irene Sankoff (book and score) travelled to Newfoundland on the 10th anniversary of 9-11. While unsure what they were looking for, the couple heard numerous tales of ordinary people and extraordinary generosity that occurred during the week of 9-11 when more than 7,000 stranded passengers found a safe harbour in Newfoundland and Labrador while the world around them was thrown into chaos. Inspired by the 16,000 stories they heard, they learned the importance of sharing tales about welcoming strangers and embracing kindness. The story they then formed, told and continue to tell on Broadway, around the U.S. and around the world became the award-winning musical “Come From Away.”
Here is how interested youth can participate in the “Inspiring Stories That Make A Difference” initiative:
• Have a writing contest at your school.
• Write a 400-500-word essay about your inspiring story and how you did something that made a difference.
• Submissions are due by May 1, 2019.
• Accepted submissions will include a two-page spread in the book with your story and an author photo showing how you made a difference.
• More than 50 authors between the ages of five and 18 will be selected to appear in this first edition of “Inspiring Stories That Make A Difference!” published by Karen Strauss and Hybrid Global Publishing.
• An editor will work with you to edit and format the story for publication.
• Your story will be promoted on social media platforms and includes a two-minute author interview that will be posted on YouTube, Facebook and the book’s website.
• All proceeds from the book will benefit The Loukoumi Make A Difference Foundation.
• For more on “Come From Away,” visit www.comefromaway.com.
• For more on Loukoumi, go to [email protected]