I'm an advocate of little things adding up to big things when enough people care. In the realm of public education, this plays out through the work of an excellent charity, Donors Choose. I've supported their works for a few years now. In a nutshell, teachers write up requests for various supplies or materials, the site posts them, and we get to choose what is funded. It's one of my favorite forms of voting with my dollars. I've supported many programs, most of which are environmental or scientific in focus. But it is a book request that has brought me to tears.
A few months ago, I donated to a request to purchase a set of classic books for a school library. I have read many of the books, and it is so tragic that a school can't even afford to replace books that are an integral part of literary history. I didn't donate a lot, but I think I must have been the last donor who completed the project because I received a great packet of thank yous in the mail today (donors who donate over $100 OR finish a project get packets). The letters from these students were heartfelt and thoughtful. My favorite came from a gal named Shannon:
My name is Shannon. One of my favorite things to do is read. I know that must be heard to believe because you don't hear that from many teenagers. One of my favorite books to read is classics. One of the classic books I saw in the school library was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.
My mom and I saw the movie with Winona Ryder and Susan Sarandon. I fell in love with the story line and when I found out that it was a book, I had to get it. I went to the library in my school and got it.
I wanted to write this note to say thank you for donating these wonderful classic books like Little Women. I hope my school library will be able to get more. Thank you!
This was one of MY favorite books as a child. In fact, I have a really old copy of this book that sat next to my alarm clock for years (when you get an urge to read Little Women, you've just got to have it right there).
I love this site because it allows anyone to help out a classroom anywhere. You can pick to just support high poverty, high needs classrooms, and you can pick a school right in your backyard. You can pick projects you love or fund desperately sad needs (the last project I funded was asking for whiteboard markers).
I believe so much in this project that I'd like to ask the help of my readers. First of all, please pass along the word. Even if you can't donate, I hope you can re-blog my project page to get these deserving projects funded. Second, if you're able to donate, I'd truly appreciate it. Here's my giving page!.
As a thank you, if you donate to a project before 2011, let me know. I will send you a photograph I have taken! You can let me know color/theme/etc or choose a specific photo from my flickr page. I have photos from all around the world and lots of cool nature ones. Just let me know what you're interested in and where to mail it, and I will be happy to get out a photo to you. You can contact me at lapenn (at) gmail (dot com).
Thanks for your support!