MINERAL POINT, Wis. - While most students at this time of the school year are closing out the school year by going on field trips, having picnic celebrations, and anxiously awaiting summer break, Second Graders at Mineral Point Elementary school have been spending their last days of school studying philanthropy and how they can make a difference in the world both globally and locally, all while improving their own reading skills.
Their story begins four weeks ago when they were studying nutrition and world hunger. Students were shocked to learn that 1 in 8 people will go to bed hungry each night. Then they learned about Heifer International-an organization that “provides livestock for struggling families who have few resources and need an ongoing source of income,” and how those “gifts help families lift themselves to self-reliance” (Heifer International). They continued to learn about Heifer’s cornerstone, “Passing on the gift,” and what it means to be a philanthropist-someone who gives their time, talent and/or treasure to help others. That’s when they decided to join Heifer International’s Read to Feed program. This program encourages students to read while raising money to provide resources and training to families in need all around the world.
Students launched their philanthropic service learning project by creating a video (http://animoto.com/play/JzForrbzBz6bUynLfx0JNQ) to share with their families and community about their new endeavor and to gain support. For every $1.00 donated the entire 2nd grade would read 10 minutes. Within only a few days they had raised $200 (2,000 minutes of reading). Then Cummins Emission Solutions of Mineral Point heard about their project and wanted to support their efforts to help families around the world and increase personal literacy skills. They generously donated $400.00 (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=1509924259231198) and yet the students were up to the challenge of now reading over 6,000 minutes…and they wanted to read more! (http://animoto.com/play/H7K5h0e4IzcrLRSsZTbIVg ) The Class of 2024 also wanted to make a difference locally, so they decided to use their talent for reading and use their time to visit the residents at the Mineral Point Care Center throughout the next few weeks.
“Students spent a few mornings talking with special 'Grandfriends' and reading to them,” explained Marcia Roberts, second grade teacher. “This gave them a compelling reason to practice their basic reading and fluency skills.”
Through the Read to Feed program, students also learned about keeping promises and being accountable for their actions. With over 6,000 minutes to read, students had to get creative and find different ways and times to read.
“If we skip recesses we can read during that time,” suggested one student. Another’s solution was to, “read ALL day.”
“One goal of this project was to really get the kids excited about reading. At this age and time of year some students begin to get ‘bored’ with reading,” said Penny Wiegel, second grade teacher. “One way we kept the extra reading exciting was to have special family members and community members be ‘Mystery Readers’ and read a favorite story aloud.”
Students were so energized that they even decided to read extra at home so that they could meet their challenge. “We also wanted to encourage the kids to become life-long readers. We wanted them to understand that reading is an important life-skill, not just something you do when you open a book,” explained Kimberly Diefenbach, second grade teacher. “One way we encouraged this was to explore the town of Mineral Point through a walking field trip and read all the signs and menus we could find.”
During one of these trips, two local businesses, Mitchell’s Hardware Store and High Street Sweets, heard about the students’ project and success thus far. They wanted to surprise the students and congratulate them so High Street Sweets opened their doors at a special time and Mitchell’s Hardware Store bought candy for all the students (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=1510271015863189) At the end of the two-week collection drive, they raised $1,000 (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=1510501939173430 ) and decided to buy one water buffalo, one biogas stove, one flock of chicks, a pig, a goat, an irrigation pump, and send a girl to school through Heifer International.
Mineral Point second graders have truly learned that they have the power to make a difference in their world and within their community. By simply using their time and talents, and by working together, they can surpass their goals and beat any challenges put in front of them, even reading 10,000 minutes and raising $1,000. Local and global community service is not just an aspiration in Mineral Point, rather it has become a reality for these young philanthropists.
(The photo is one that we took to thank the community for their support of our project and for our corporate sponsor.)
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Dear Heifer International, Enclosed are multiple checks for Heifer International. Thank you for allowing us to extend a helping hand. The kids in Science Hill Friends Sunday School class, grades four through six, wanted to make a difference in the world, if only a small one. This year, instead of exchanging gifts with each other, we chose to raise money for Heifer International. The class wanted to raise enough money to purchase a cow for a family in need. They all agreed theyw ould not receive a gift from their teacher and vise versa and their project would be funded with that money. They made pottery plates and filled them with homemade cookies and designed a tee shirt ("Because I gave up one Christmas gift a family is able to eat for a month!"). Pottery plates/cookies and tee shirts were sold for $10 each. One hundred percent of the proceeds were donated to Heifer International. Our church, Science Hill Friends agreed to match whatever we raised. We raised $560.00, therefore there are check enclosed totaling $1,120.00. We appreciate this opportunity to learn, share and be grateful. Thank you! Friends, Haven, Hgnat, Kara, Kaley, Annabelle, Silas, Mackenzie & Tammy Submitted by Tammy G.
Submitted by Lucy | Age 8 | Massachusetts | "I am 8 years old. I am happy that some people will get to have chicks and animals and then more and more people can live well and have enough to eat."
In 1969 Ralph Barnes, from Chatham, IL, a farmer and coordinator for Heifer International, called Austin Hulcher to see if he would take a load of cattle/heifers, to Miami, FL. Since the 1,400-mile trip would be non-stop, Austin called his good friend, Bud King, to help drive the truck. This trip meant loading up the heifers into a double decker trailer. The 47 heifers were chosen from prize winners at county fairs and the Illinois State Fair. Each of the heifers weighed between 600-800 pounds and were among prize winning stock. The cowboys were told the heifers would help to upgrade the stock in Bolivia, South America, where the cattle were pretty scrawny... Click the title of this story to read more!
Submitted by Michelle | Age 8 | Colorado
I received a Heifer catalog in the mail in October. I was struck with the idea of blessing a family on the other side of the world that I would never meet with a Christmas gift that could positively impact their lives; and I liked the idea of giving an actual animal--in my suburban Chicago life that is not the kind of gift we are accustomed to giving. I brought up the idea to my co-workers in the Palos Community Hospital Surgery and PACU departments and my fellow nurses, aides, supervisors, secretaries, and pharmacists all grabbed onto it and ran with it. Each payday we reminded each other to put aside just a little towards our goal of giving a Christmas cow. We kept a running tab of our donations on our “Heifer-ometer” in our staff lounge, and little by little we approached our goal. We passed the $500 mark in early December and my co-workers wanted to do more: “How much is a sheep--they give milk and wool, and how about chickens?” They just never stopped giving, and by Christmas we had decided to give a cow, sheep, pig, and 5 flocks of chicks with the $840 we all donated. I know that the world is a crazy place and that I can do little to change the violence that is so often in the news, but I couldn’t help but feel a little hope and joy that a bunch of unrelated people, who at times don’t even get along with each other, could come together and plant a little bit of peace in the world and do something together that we couldn’t accomplish individually. I was proud to be a part of it. May it continue in each of us. Rick Hultgen, RN Palos Community Hospital Surgery Department
I am happy to report that my first grade class raised $300 for our Read to Feed Christmas outreach project and read nearly 500 books. My big-hearted children did this in lieu of exchanging gifts with each other and some gave that money toward the program. Through their efforts, we were able to purchase 2 llamas which will provide annual income for 2 or more needy families in other countries. We learned about the various resources/animals available for purchase through Heifer throughout this process and about some of the children who have benefited from it across the globe. My class has been doing this for 5 years and loving it every year! Submitted by Casey Grier
Submitted by Sara | Age 8 | Colorado
I am a first grade teacher. As a part of our unit on cultures and holidays around the world, the other two first grade teachers and I ask the children to donate THEIR money (from their piggy banks or from chores) toward a donation for livestock purchase. This year the first graders of Conneaut Elementary School in Bowling Green, Ohio raised $145 dollars and were able to donate one goat and one flock of chicks. This is a great opportunity for the students to learn how important it is to give back! Submitted by Shannon K.
Ms. Ferry’s first grade class, along with 5 other first grade classes, listened to the story Beatrice’s Goat and wanted to do something to help villages like Beatrice’s. We performed services at home to earn “kid bucks” that we could bring back to school. Once we earned 100 kid bucks, our teacher sent a goat to a village in need through Heifer International. Altogether, the first grade classes at our school were able to send TEN goats! After earning our kid bucks, students wrote about their experiences and services they performed to earn their kid bucks. Their pages were put together into a book that is now published in our hallway. This is a picture of our board where we kept track of how many goats we earned. We also made books about how we earned our goats. We hope our goats help many families! Submitted by Marissa Ferry, Ashleigh Barraco & Laura Atkinson
Each year, our K-8 school does a service project. This November, our service project was to read and share the book, Beatrice’s Goat with each of the grades. The students were inspired by Beatrice’s story, as well as learning that their gift would bring lasting positive change to children and families around the world. They excitedly gave money towards the purchase of ducks, geese, chicks, rabbits, honeybees, pigs, goats, tree seedlings, a sheep, a water buffalo, and an irrigation pump with Heifer International. Thank you for providing a tangible way for young students to help make a positive difference in people’s lives around the world! Best wishes, Mrs. Hill Lamb of God School
Ms. Julie Bair and her fifth grade class at Seven Hills Middle School in Nevada City, California designed and created scarecrows for the Scarecrows for Heifer service learning project to raise funds in benefit of Heifer International. Local businesses generously donate materials and a venue to sell the finished scarecrows. Ms. Bair has worked with students in the Nevada City Schools on scarecrow projects over many years to raise funds to support Heifer International’s mission of helping families. Hats off to Ms. Bair for her dedication to both Heifer and developing the next generation of donors!
Submitted by Emery and Tatum | Ages 2 1/2 and 5 | Virginia
Submitted by Emery and Tatum | Ages 2 1/2 and 5 | Virginia
A landscape of the region was completed with a focus on the first prototype location. We asked a few key questions: Who is helping communities in the Sahel region of Senegal? What are they doing to help them? Is it working? Why? Is it not working? Why not?
A complete landscape of the region was completed with a focus on the first prototype location by asking a few key questions: Who is helping communities in the Sahel? What are they doing to help them? Is it working? Why? Is it not working? Why not?