Passing on the Gift of Education
By Zacil Nash
When talking about Heifer International, we hear about Passing on the Gift. We often hear about the celebration of passing on animal gifts from projects; but there is another type of Passing on the Gift that we often take part of: Education.
Education is an important part of what we do at Heifer International: in the field; in the learning centers – Heifer Village, Heifer Ranch, Heifer Farm; with the Headquarters Green Building Tour and in the Community – church, schools, Hoof it for Heifer.
At Heifer Ranch, one of the learning centers, there are many programs that are offered to participants such as field trips, overnight and multi-night experience, and community challenge among other programs. With these programs, passing on the gift of education is often celebrated.
In September 2013, a group of new volunteers arrived at Heifer Ranch. The new volunteers, together with the carryover volunteers, had the opportunity to experience the night in the Global Village. In the village, they challenged themselves to work together as a community and share resources. More experience and knowledge was passed on to the volunteers from the coordinators as the weeks of orientation and training went on.
In October of the same year, a group of students came to Heifer Ranch to participate in a multi-night program – Maplewood Richmond Heights High School and Webster University from St. Louis, Mo. Two of the new volunteers and two carryover volunteers facilitated the program and passed on the gift of education to the participants. In the experience, the participants challenged themselves to work as a community and share resources. On the closing of the program, the students challenged themselves to share what they had learned Heifer Ranch. They agreed to pass on the knowledge that they had experienced with at least five people. They wanted to share what they had learned and how they can use the information to expand their knowledge and make a difference. Webster University had previously participated in the program at Heifer Ranch; this year was MRH’s second time.
Later, in December, the students from the University and the High school organized an event to present videos of what they had learned at their experience at Heifer Ranch. The videos were about the experience itself, but also took the extra step by adapting what they learned at Heifer Ranch with other issues in the world, such as child mortality, hunger and poverty, gender equality and life in the urban slums.
At the presentation, there was an anonymous donor from Webster University, who pledged to donate $5 for every participant that came to the presentation who was not part of the Heifer Ranch experience. The group received enough money from the anonymous donor to purchase a Heifer – a value of $500.
Also at the presentation, the finger foods that were provided were vegetables, such as cabbage and celery (as the foods that were provided to the participants during the program). They provided water to drink. The plates and cups were compostable. They also had a composting bucket for food scrap waste. The students emphasized their efforts to turn off the lights when not in use, turn off the water faucet when brushing their teeth, reducing and reusing materials before recycling, among other changes in their everyday lives.
The students passed on the gift of education to the public and challenged the public to pass on the gift of Education to their family, community, school and work circles. They challenged the public, the same way that they had challenged themselves at Heifer Ranch, to share in the many ways of communication – face to face, social media, presentations, etc. They wanted the participants at the presentation to take action - by passing on the gift of education, awareness of world issues, care for the environment, improved nutrition, and participating in the education programs at the Heifer Learning Centers, community events, fundraisers and donations.
By continuously Passing On the Gift of education, we continue with the circle of sharing the knowledge and training of Heifer International with the old volunteers and the new volunteers, with the staff and projects, with the participants and new participants. There are enough ways to pass on the gift of education to ensure a world where everyone should have enough.