>I was honestly thinking of writing about compassion fatigue: generous people who just can’t give any more. With so many free-lunch students I can’t even count them, families who have trouble buying pencils, and my own budget shrinking, I have a hard time coming up with a few pennies no matter how worthy the cause.
And then I got the benchmark reading levels for my class. Seven fourth graders, only one with a diagnosed learning disability, all reading at a first grade level. Kids reading at the level of Frog and Toad, Henry and Mudge, Little Bear. But they didn’t want to be caught reading Little Bear in front of their peers.
So I went to work. Research: where can I find high -interest, low-reading level books for these students? All want to read. They want to read cool books, fun books. So I found cool, fun, and easy books. And oh, my, were they pricey. Buying any quantity for teaching purposes would require a significant investment.
I wrote to several civic groups. I had missed the fall deadline for one. One turned me down saying we didn’t “fit their mission,” but referred me to another source. Yet another funded some more glamorous projects. Face it; books aren’t sexy, no matter how necessary.
Then along came DonorsChoose.org. I found them after writing a post for MomCentral Consulting, a PR post announcing their Bing “Our School Needs” project. One of the perks of writing a post was a donation credit code for DonorsChoose.org. You guessed it; I wrote my own project so I could keep my donation code at home, er, at my own school.
I shamelessly promoted this project through Plurk, Twitter, and my own blog. Other bloggers promoted it, too, and even donated. Yesterday I got the exciting news: my project was closed. Funded completely. Done.
Oh. My. Goodness. I could hardly sit still. Even though I’ve verified the orders and downloaded the thank you package, I’m still in a bit of happy shock.
The biggest and happiest surprise was the speed at which the project finished. Several donors ate away very quickly at the first hundred. Then a large donor, a foundation new to me, stepped in and finished the job.
Douglas and Maria Bayer Foundation, I applaud you. My students will thank you, too – as soon as I get their photo releases and help them write the letters. Seeing the project fully funded so soon and with a major generous donor really knocked my socks off. It’s wonderful to see that despite all the needs in our world, compassion and generosity still thrive.
Now, about those donor codes? The school down the road has a project, too. It’s time to Pay it Forward.