Alpaca Box Challenge Overview

Every Lichen Peace Project Challenge is designed to do two things:

  • Connect your students to other students beyond their school, and give them a task to work on together.
  • Facilitate a service project to your classroom that lets your students develop empathy for people who are perhaps different from themselves and outside their immediate community.


Because we are educators for peace, and we know that students and teachers need many opportunities to reach beyond their classroom. Students who work with diverse people on diverse causes develop skills that will help them make our world more peaceful.

What is this year’s challenge?

AlpacaBox Meme 1This year’s challenge is a collaboration with Operation Refugee Child.  Operation Refugee Child accepts donations of boxes that contain a variety of needed supplies and gets them to a child in a refugee camp. See the list of required items here and the constraints on the size of the items and the size of the box.

Your students will pool their resources and their social capital to collect those items.

They will also choose or create an item that will help to meet the social and emotional needs of one refugee child. Your students may decide to provide an item that meets one of the following needs, or they may brainstorm an additional need that is not listed here.

  • Challenge
  • Self-expression
  • Hope for a meaningful future
  • Education
  • Belonging
  • Friendship
  • Play
  • Justice
  • Privacy

To practice the very skills necessary for peace, your students will present their research, their thinking, and their ideas of what to add to the box to students at another school. They must  exchange feedback with them before making a final decision about what should go in the box.  You may decide with your partner teacher to create a box at each school or to pool resources and ideas to create one box.

The form of the collaborations between your students is up to you and your partner teacher, but technology helps and we have a list of tools you may want to use.

Why the social and emotional needs of refugee children, in addition to their material needs?

The social and emotional needs of refugee children are harder to meet.  Children in camps suffer hopelessness, a lack of access to education, and may lack opportunities for self-expression and for a sense of belonging.  

It is critical to future peace that social and emotional needs of refugee children are met.  The UN has stated that youth around the world are disproportionately the victims of war; yet play an important role in resisting extremism and building peace.   

Our students likewise play an important role in building peace. To foster peace-making dispositions, this challenge encourages students to collaborate with others who may be different from them and to empathize with the situation of another in order to help alleviate their suffering.

How does the challenge work?

  • Register your class by 9/22.
  • Receive information about your partner class, assigned by the Lichen Peace Project by 9/26.
    • Send an email or get on the phone and chat with your partner teacher.
    • Connect with your partner class throughout the project to let:
      • Students introduce themselves to one another
      • Students give and receive feedback and a go-ahead on their partner class’ special items before packing the box.
    • Decide which other parts of the project you want your classes to collaborate on together:
      • Gathering the listed materials?
      • Pack one box together or two separate boxes?
      • Presenting research on the the needs of the people they are serving?
      • Creating the multimedia artifact about the project?
  • Complete the required parts of the challenge to receive the Alpaca Challenge Completion digital badge and sticker for your students between 10/2 and 11/14.
    • Post an introduction about your class in the Google+ Community (photos encouraged!)
    • Connect with your partner class
    • Select objects for, pack, and mail a box for a refugee child
    • Create and post a multimedia artifact that shares:
      • What you learned about your partner class
      • How you worked together to complete the challenge
      • What you learned about the situation in refugee camps
      • A photo and/or list of what you packed in the box
      • Why you selected those materials
      • A reflection on how your students were impacted by the experience.
  • Participate in the live Celebration webinar for participating teachers and students on 11/16.

How will the Lichen Peace Project support us in this challenge?

The Lichen Peace Project will:

  • pair you with a partner school
  • provide an optional kickoff webinar for participating teachers
  • provide resources to facilitate all aspects of the challenge
  • host the Alpaca Box Challenge Google+ Community to foster connections among participating teachers
  • provide digital and physical badges to recognize your students’ accomplishment


Uniting Students in Peace-making