Editor's note: Robin McManus teaches fourth grade at the Willard Elementary School in Concord, Mass. Last year, McManus used Read to Feed® in her classroom after a suggestion from a student. This is the final post in a series about why she chose our curriculum. In all, McManus' class raised more than $1,500. Read on to the end to see how your class can take part right now to take advantage of the Read to Feed Fall Match opportunity we have running.
By the end of the month, I knew I wanted to do something special to acknowledge all of the class’ hard work. The kids had been really dedicated, and I needed to make sure the end of the experience was meaningful and the message was clear. Fortunately for me, Patty Helsingius, a local Heifer volunteer contacted me and offered to come in the speak to the class! It was a great opportunity for my students to hear from another source how beneficial our donations were, and what a difference we were making. One activity she had involved a basket of stuffed animals, including a rabbit, cow, goat and chicken. She held each up individually and asked students what that animal could provide for a family—food, money, clothing, etc. The students loved trying to think of all of the ways an animal could help a family, and drew from what they had read on Heifer’s website. It was a very interactive presentation, where students got to showcase their knowledge of basic human needs and what they had learned from our month of participating in Read to Feed.
The money we raised was used to support a milk bank in Kenya, and Patty explained to us how milk banks work and why they are so valuable to communities. I think it was a powerful way to end the month. The Read to Feed program was such a success in my classroom due to enthusiastic students and the support we received from parents and families. In fact, as an end of year gift, my room parents coordinated a donation to Heifer in my name. It was wonderful to feel so supported through such a meaningful contribution.
I asked students to write some reflections of what they thought of Read to Feed and what they had learned about global citizenship and basic human needs. Here are some of their thoughts:
To me, The Read to Feed Program shows that anyone can make a difference. I am a really glad that I can do something to help. I’m proud that my class is doing something that changes other people’s lives. It’s always exciting every time someone donates to our class website…I realized how fortunate I am. The Heifer program is great. I love the feeling that I am helping families around the world.
In the last month I’ve learned that even the smallest donations can lift a family out of poverty. I’ve felt that I’ve taken part and helped children all over the world. Heifer has had an impact on me and has taught me it doesn’t matter if you’re an adult or a child, you still have the power to make a difference in the world
I’ve never donated to anything before, and I feel really good about donating to Heifer International. I’m very proud of our class and how much we’ve made a difference for a family somewhere. Our class read a story called Beatrice’s Goat [published by Heifer]. It was about a girl in Africa…Her family got a goat from Heifer and their life changed…That really showed me that I can make a difference in the world.
For me, these reflections were more than I had hoped. My students felt empowered to make change and were proud of the work they had done, they understood that there are people less fortunate in the world, and they got to experience that altruistic glow by participating. To me, this type of empathy is not something you can simply teach, yet is such an important building block to being a global citizen. Read to Feed helped me teach empathy and generosity to my classroom in a very authentic way. These reflections made me stop and appreciate my class, the role I play in their lives, and how one person really can make a difference.
This fall, when your class participates in Heifer’s Read to Feed Program, your students’ fundraising efforts can go twice as far toward our vision of a world without hunger and poverty! Every donation your students receive through the Read to Feed program will be matched dollar-for-dollar by our generous donor during the Read to Feed Fall Match. That means even more families will be able to have nutritious food, afford to go to school and live better lives.
The campaign starts September 23, 2015 and will end when our goal of $50,000 has been met or January 31, 2016, whichever comes first. Gifts received after the $50,000 goal has been met will continue to go towards the general mission of Heifer International.