17 October 2007

DonorsChoose Blogger Challenge: Help Parent Hacks support special education students in need

DonorsChoose.org is a fantastic organization that brings together teachers whose school projects need funding and potential donors (that's us). Through October 31, they're hosting a Blogger Challenge -- encouraging bloggers to choose a project (one or many) to support. Federated Media stepped up, giving each FM author a $100 gift certificate to use to support any project they like.

I chose a small project: a Portland, Oregon special education teacher who needs about $1000 to purchase music and movement equipment for her students. It so happens that I've spent a lot of time recently learning about how movement affects kids' brain development, and I'm blown away by what I've found. Exercise is so much more than working the muscles and the structures of the body -- it trains the brain to work more optimally, and, in the case of neurological disorders, softens many of the behavioral symptoms. Mind-body connection indeed. I can only imagine what a difference this equipment will make to these students, many of whom are struggling with autism, developmental disorders, and learning delays.

I spent my FM gift certificate on this project, then kicked in my own donation, and now I'm asking you to join me! We can fully fund this teacher's request if we all pull together! We're already almost 20% of the way there (the thermometer says 10% because my gift certificate donation didn't register there). Here's how it might look:

  • 8 Parenthackers donate $100, or
  • 16 Parenthackers donate $50, or
  • 40 Parenthackers donate $20, or
  • 80 Parenthackers donate $10

Click on the thermometer in this post or in the sidebar to contribute. Anything you can donate will get us closer to our goal! You can donate with a check or a credit card -- it takes just a minute or two. And five randomly chosen donors will get a little gift in the mail from me!

What an amazing way to erase the barriers between the people who want to help but don't know how, and the teachers who need help but don't know who to ask.

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I have been a teacher on the receiving end of many donors choose grants and I can't say enough how much good they're doing. Working with Donors Choose greatly enhanced my students' classroom experience.

One of my best moments was a conversation with a student after our first grant arrived (a set of Roald Dahl books for the class and writing journals to go with them). She said, "Why would someone want to waste their money on us?" I explained that a lot of people care about other people even if they don't know them. And that our class was definitely not a "waste".

Even more than the materials themselves, the gesture of giving really brightened our year.

If you can give to Donors Choose in any way, I strongly recommend it!

How can I say no? A school in my own city, a movement project -- one of my great interests -- I'm all over this!

I love the idea and appreciate you bringing this whole concept to my attention. Plus, I love to help meet a goal (much to my husband's chagrin!).

Thank you so much, all of you. We already have 4 contributions! And I've changed the goal amount to $900 since my $100 gift certificate didn't show up -- this way we have a more accurate thermometer reading.

And, by the way, have a look around the DonorsChoose site. Even if you decide not to fund this challenge, there are thousands more that need help.

I love DonorsChoose! My student's education increases every time a project is funded! Thanks for spreading the word!

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