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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Members of BRAVE from Sedgwick Middle School, Smith STEM School, and Conard High School with founder Meaghan Davis. BRAVE recently raised more than $6,600 to send 24 girls in other countries to school. Please click the title of the story to read more!
Velasco Family Supports Heifer International in Memory of their Daughter, Yvette
A music recital benefiting Heifer International’s Empower Women Movement will be taking place on Saturday at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Centre County. Organized by State College native Raina Arnett, the concert is intended to showcase some classical musical talent while also highlighting a terrific social cause. “I believe classical music is something that everyone can enjoy, no matter your age, background, occupation or knowledge of the subject,” Arnett said. “I’ve played on the Young Artists Concert Series at the UUFCC before and each time I like to raise money for a different cause supporting young women around the world. After some research, I decided to support the Heifer International’s Empower Women campaign this year.” Please click the title of the story to read more!
Upon learning that there is enough food in the world for everyone but it is not distributed equally, fifth-grade GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) students at Mabel Hoggard Magnet School in Las Vegas, NV, got rocking on a solution. They rocked in more ways than one. In two short months, students established their own company, created more than 200 original pet rocks, and raised $550 to fight world hunger... Please click the title of the story to read more!
Project recipient, Frank V, expresses his gratitude after his family received a cow from Heifer Int'l in Poland in the year of 1949. Please click the title to read his letter!
In 2013 I took my son, then a second grader, to the Hunger Banquet at Misericordia University where I was a student. There he learned about the difference between poor, middle, and wealthy classes and just how many children go hungry around the world. The distended bellies in the photos really upset him. Afterwards he asked if he could mail food to the poor kids. I knew of Heifer from when I was in youth group and found it was still helping those around the world and explained how it works to my son. He was immediately on board. He approached the school about holding his first physical fundraiser on campus during the Hunger Awareness Week. He now does a fundraiser annually, creating youtube call-to-action videos... Please click the title of the story to read more!!
Our Sunday School has been participating in the Heifer Program for the last four years. In the past, we have purchased chickens, ducks, bees, a lamb and this year the children decided on a calf. They have raised $1277.69. Last Sunday one of our dairy farmers brought a calf so the children could see what was being sent. Praise be to God for this gift of two calves.
I am the adviser of our school's Character Council at Summit Road STEM Elementary in Reynoldsburg, OH. We have been doing outreach fundraisers which impact our school, our community and globally. The council chose Heifer International as the global outreach. They challenged each person in our school to donate 5 "little" pennies which equaled 2,500 pennies. In doing so, we as a building would be able to raise $25.00 dollars. After collecting our "little" pennies, the total was 11,664 pennies equaling $116.64. This number will be changing because the council received more pennies after they made their announcement. The council had originally thought they would like the donation go towards a flock of ducks or honeybees. Now they will need to review the options and decide what the donation will go towards since they collected $91.00 over their goal! I am so proud of the council members and our school community for exceeding our goal!
Our Church (West Lebanon NH UCC) just finished a very successful 2016 Heifer drive. We initiated the month long Fill The Ark calendar on April 3rd by introducing the Fill The Ark program to both the Sunday School youth and the entire congregation. Over the next month the Sunday School would paste paper animals they colored to fill up a large cardboard Ark set up in the Sanctuary. During the Sunday May 1 service the Sunday School youth collected the boxes from the congregation and filled the front of the Ark. This Sunday the youth will decide what animals to purchase with the $1,000 raised. Also in June the youth and interested members of the congregation will travel to the Heifer farm in Rutland MA to learn more about Heifer and have an afternoon at the farm. Heifer's Fill The Ark calendar was a terrific tool that helped energize our congregation's 2016 Heifer project.
Earlier this spring, the Youth of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Southington, CT organized and participated in a ‘Famine Weekend’ to raise money and awareness for Heifer International and other like-minded organizations. The Church Youth, grades 6-12 begin fasting after school lunch on Friday and did not eat solid food again until Sat evening at 6:00, sustaining themselves on only water and some juice during that period. They asked people to support their efforts through monetary donations. After school, they joined together at the church to play a variety of games and exercises... Please click the title of the story to read more!
Heifer International Supporter, Ms. Fitzgerald, shares an article from the Okanogan Independent written on Thursday, May 2nd, 1968, in Okanogan, WA... Click the link below to read the article!
H. Frank Carey High School held a small presentation at which students were awarded with a $1,000 donation to Heifer International... Click the link to read the rest of the story!