Martha Payne: NeverSeconds

Martha Payne

Remember the film, Pay It Forward?

In the movie a boy helps his mother and society as a whole with a concept of starting a chain reaction of helping others. It’s a good thing to teach children – how powerful generosity can be and how powerful they are if they want to make a change for the good.

A good way to teach that lesson is to follow the story of Scottish schoolgirl Martha Payne. As part of a writing assignment, she started a blog called NeverSeconds to document her school lunches (school dinners in Scottish speak) with photographs of her miserable meals. When her school found out, they shut down the blog – and that raised an outcry. Her blog articles had gone “viral” and her fans demanded that she be allowed to chronicle and rate the mediocre lunches. Jamie Oliver supporter her in tweets, and her supporters got the school council to reverse their decision and let her keep her blog. She raised £61,519. 07 for a local charity called Mary’s Meals that will build school kitchens in Malawi.

But there is more children around the world can learn from Martha’s story. Martha has forgone (so far) monetizing her new found fame, turning down Hollywood, which offered to serve her up in movie, book, and TV deals.

She has only accepted one offer so far, that is to work with Scottish celebrity chef Nick Nairn to help the local school council to create more nutritious meals at her school, Lochgilphead Primary in Argyll. Nick himself is on TV on Ready Steady Cook.

What can kids do? They can follow Martha’s NeverSeconds blog, and if their own schools have mediocre meals with poor nutrition, they can start blogs of their own and encourage their schools to feed them better.

Translate Martha’s power into Children’s power and you get a movement Jamie Oliver has tried to encourage around the world – but you get it from the kids themselves.

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