So, I may be a giant, bleeding heart but I think we can all agree that the crazed roller coaster our economy's been on over the last couple weeks does NOT mean that the public school systems have won the lottery. I'm just sayin'. Anyways, just because none of us will ever be able to retire doesn't mean that we have nothing left to give! Check out the widget on the sidebar of my blog (top right) and click through if you are so inspired. Give a buck, give a couple thousand, whatever it is, I know it will help. This organization seems pretty cool. They ask teachers for projects and then - without having to funnel the money through some giant Kafkaesque bureaucracy !cough! DCPS - they send the materials right on over to the schools.
Those of you who know me in real life know my dad's a huge birdwatcher and naturalist. That's why this program description pretty much made my heart go pitter-pat:
"I'm the visual arts teacher at a Title I elementary school in southeast Washington, DC. I currently teach visual arts to over 400 students in grades ranging from Head Start (two-year-olds) to 5th grade (twelve-year-olds). I have been teaching in the same school for the past ten years.Imagine being able to give a child something tangible that might kindle in him or her your father's lifelong passion. Sold!
Our local park is truly a gem in our Nation’s Capital. It offers visitors an opportunity to reflect and soothe their spirits through the beauty of nature. Fresh air, majestic trees, wild animals, and the ebb and flow of the creek emanate the delicate aura of the forest. It is the home to over 200 different species of birds.
Birdwatching means learning to identify the birds and understand what they are doing. Life suddenly gets more interesting when you become aware of the varied bird life all around you. To do this effectively the naked eye alone is not sufficient enough, in order to do it efficiently the students will need medium powered binoculars to explore the nearby park habitat and find the various birds in their natural habitat and the notebooks so the student can be effective recorders. The books would let the students match their birds with the correct species that are commonly found in North America, more specifically Washington, DC.
With your help my students will have the opportunity to further their experience in life science while exploring a new lifetime hobby. Research has shown that children who do not regularly encounter wildlife, develop unreasonable fears. Everything wild becomes strange and scary. Studies also suggest that unless these personal connections are made in early childhood, they may not be possible on such a deep, meaningful level.
My students need 20 pairs of binoculars, steno pads and 2 Birds of North America resource books. The cost of this proposal is $1,129."
There are projects of all sorts, something to tug at your personal heartstrings no matter their flavor. I wrote about the details to kick off the month-long DC Metro Moms Challenge if you want to read about more unbelievable reqests (like from a PE teacher who has no equipment and all he's asking for is hula hoops and bean bags. Sigh. Banging head on keyboard). What an inspired idea to give teachers the power to instantly make their students' lives more fulfilling.
Thanks for reading, folks, and if you're a blogger and feel so inclined, spread the word! If you're a person with a change jar you can swing into action, do it! I appreciate your generosity from the bottom of my heart.