Refine. Hone. Distill. The self is a text, too.
In two previous posts, I reminisced about being read to as a child and ranted about illiteracy and its effect on such a large portion of children in this country, so I couldn’t help but be interested when I stumbled across donorschoose.org. This 501(c)3 orchestrates improvement projects for schools across the country by vetting teachers’ proposals, purchasing and shipping materials, and offering photo updates as projects progress. Donors can browse projects by school subject, by region, or by “match” offers with a major partner. Additional filters allow you to view results based on poverty level, most donors, or lowest cost, and each project has a pitch and explanation written by the requesting teacher.
Searching for projects at the highest poverty level in my area, I discovered there is just one project and the opening lines of its pitch say, “Do you remember your parents reading to you as a small child? Many of my students don’t have that.” This teacher is asking for donations to create a listening center in one of the city’s Title 1 schools where students get a library day every two weeks — limited by a lack of money for librarians.
It would take a stone-hearted hypocrite to click away from that, right?
I’m also pleased with the breakdown of project supplies and costs, including how much has been donated to date. On other projects that I’m looking at for the future, I can see exactly which books a teacher in Texas thinks would engage his students, or which supplies an underfunded science lab in Oklahoma needs to make a lasting impression on its high school students during their single required science course.
When donating, I like as much transparency as possible, to ensure that I’m not somehow giving my money to line a pocket or to support something that I staunchly oppose, making DonorsChoose an ideal way for me to support the things about which I feel passionately.
UPDATE: Check out this short PSA narrated by Morgan Freeman.