It all started with a book. "The thing with teaching kindergarteners is, it doesn't often go according to plan," explained Porters Point Teacher, David Allbee. "I'll have planned something and I've planned it really well, and all of a sudden I have to adjust my plan because their interest is so great in a certain subject. So, I have to be quick on my feet. This project came about in that sort of way."
After spending some time with these energetic and imaginative kindergarteners, it is not hard to understand what he is talking about. Especially when the timing of the visit falls on St. Patrick's Day and the class just finished making leprechaun traps. However, all you have to do is mention the names Beatrice, Katjie, or Goat Lady, and they will proudly switch gears.
"She sold her goats to the same project that Beatrice got her goat, and that's where we're going to get our goats!" explained kindergartner, Esther Gray.
Beatrice is the main character in a book by Page McBrier called "Beatrice's Goat". The children's storybook is based on the true account of Beatrice Biira, an impoverished Ugandan girl whose life is transformed by the gift of a goat from the nonprofit world hunger organization Heifer International. Prior to Beatrice, the class read "Boxes for Katje" by Candace Fleming. They thoroughly enjoyed the story of two girls from separate countries who bounded over sending each other packages. "The Goat Lady" by Jane Bregoli came last. It tells the story of an elderly woman who sent her extra goats to the Heifer Project so they could distribute them to those in need, like Beatrice.
"I specifically chose a few books that had international themes because I have kids in my class from other countries who have moved to this country," said Allbee. "The connection between the characters in the books were that people were helping each other across international lines. People were sending aid to different countries and friendships grew out of that."
It wasn't long before the students started making their own connections, both between the books and within their own lives. They began thinking about how they could help other kids like Beatrice. "Beatrice had to work so hard, and then some nice people got her a goat. Then she had to take care of the goat to get money and then she went to school," exclaimed kindergartener Praydence Handridge.
"It really exposed the kids to the idea that we're really privileged to go to school in Colchester and that public education is funded here. It also gave them an appreciation of what they have," said Allbee.
After some brainstorming, the students decided they would make and sell bracelets to raise money to buy a goat through the Heifer Project. "We introduced the idea to the parents and before we knew it, kids were hawking bracelets at their family birthday parties and holding their aunts and uncles accountable," laughed Albee. "The money started rolling in, and it was more than I expected!"
Friends Praydence Handridge and Madden McMahon were thrilled at how much money their kindergarten class raised. "We raised so much money we got enough for two goats and some chicks! And people can have milk. They can sell milk for good food so they can survive and they can sell it to get money to go to school," they said. The idea behind the Heifer Project is that any offspring produced by a Heifer animal will be gifted to other families.
"They [the Heifer Project] helped her. These people give things to other people, and we teamed up with them!" said classmate Nichael Sharma. "I think the most impressive thing is that somebody can make a difference. One little thing that a child can do, can create an avalanche of good deeds," said Allbee.
To watch a video of this story visit Colchester School District's website at www.csdvt.org
Submitted by Meghan Baule
The end of hunger isn’t a fairy tale
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Mrs. Weinheimer's Class | Lewistown, MT
Submitted by Maya A. | Age 8 | Elkridge, MD
Many years ago, when my daughter was in Girl Scouts, she needed a service project. She chose to raise money to purchase an animal for a needy family through Heifer International. Months after that, we received their magazine. I saw a brief article in that magazine mentioning Heifer Project's upcoming Educator Tour to Honduras. I applied and surprisingly, I was chosen as one of two teachers from Iowa to go. I had a wonderful learning experience over about ten days in Florida and Honduras. Since then, Heifer International has had a near and dear place in my heart. People who have very little have the opportunity to work, receive animal(s), and improve their lives. They may be able to send their children to school, their health improves, they are encouraged to pass on the gift to others. Our Girl Scouts continued to help Heifer, as have my church family. Heifer International is a worthwhile non-profit organization!
For a couple decades, Sacred Heart Church of Enumclaw, Washington has supported Heifer during the Lenten season. But it wasn’t until parishioner Kathy told the pastoral assistant, Mathew Weisbeck, to have faith that they could raise an Ark that they set a goal of $5,000. That was 2006 and every year since the parish has raised or “floated an ark”, as Mathew likes to say. Over the years, numerous animals have visited during Lent to help raise funds for Heifer. Please click the title of the story to read how Sacred Heart Church has helped change lives with their Lenten project!
Interact Club sponsors a teacher Halloween costume competition each year at Washington High School in Washington, MO. Students bring in change and cash and vote for their favorite costumed teacher. The teachers are working together on small teams to raise money for a project they selected. This year the English teachers won and are sponsoring an irrigation project, and since Social Studies came in 2nd, they are sponsoring a pig. We were able to also purchase bees and chicks! It's a lot of fun for a good cause!
My congregation in Jesup, Iowa hosted our community-wide ecumenical Vacation Bible School this past August. We used a curriculum that taught the kids about Peru, so we decided to learn about South American animals and designate our VBS offering to go to the Heifer Project. To see how many llamas we could buy, we challenged the kids to buy one llama and by the 2nd day, we had enough for 2/3 of a llama. The kids got so excited about buying llamas that they brought more money each day, and by the end of the week, we had raised enough for four llamas!
I donate so all families can enjoy a full table together. Submitted by Marissa | Age 8
Many thanks to Annie, Georgia, Julia, Sophia, Scarlett, Clare, Jade, and Olympia for hosting their annual Art Sale to help end hunger and poverty! Each Spring, Olympia and her friends support a charity with the proceeds they raise from their art sales and this year, they chose Heifer International! With the funds raised, they were able to purchase Honeybees, a Flock of Ducks, a Water Buffalo, Pig and a Sheep for families in need. Please read Olympia's letter to Heifer by clicking on the title of this story!
Third graders at St. Thomas the Apostle School in West Hartford, CT host a prayer service to support a local food drive and Heifer International!
"Actually, we brought TWO beautiful 10-day-old calves to Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Endicott, NY, to celebrate the kickoff of the beginning of our 5th year of partnership with Heifer International. They were a HUGE hit with young and old. All of the donations from the kids in our Religious Education classes, Grades 1 -5, are contributed to Heifer International. Over the years, that has added up to a almost $10,000, and 145 animals!" ... Please click the title of the story to read more about their awesome fundraiser!
"I was stuck indoors for a week during Hurricane Harvey and not being able to run (first world problems!) and thinking about how developing nations are devastated by natural disasters..." Please click the title of the story to read what inspires Miss Osuan to make a difference around the world!
During the Summer, our church children collected over $500 in coins for a Cow. They did this by taking up an offering from the congregation by using metal cooking pots and only accepting coins. It was called their "Jingle Pan Offering" This was in keeping with the Hebrew bronze funnel that collected the temple offerings, that noted the jingle of many coins from the wealthy, and often scorns of the few "jingles" from the poor.
In Oct. 1950, Pratt & Julia Byrd traveled to Germany with the Heifer Project to transport heifers to families in need while celebrating their Honeymoon in Europe! Please click this photo to read the article written by Mrs. Byrd.
For the 2017 "Build a Better World" summer reading program at the Verona Public Library in Wisconsin, kids who finished their reading log earned a brown sticker, which they placed on either a paper cow or two paper goats to vote for what they thought the library should choose. The Friends of the Verona Public Library donated the funds to purchase the winning animal, a cow!
"On Saturday, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet donated $5,000 to Heifer International. Heifer, in turn, will give animals to families in need to ease hunger and poverty. Heifer provides tools, training, livestock and partnerships that help families live with dignity and opportunity. Here, Sister Mary Anne Rodgers, left, and Sister Diane Zigo, center, present the check to Kate Sheehan, community engagement manager for Heifer Northeast." -Article and photo shared by timesunion.com
Cornerstone Community Church's first Annual Heifer International Mission Project was a success! The children of Cornerstone collected donations for the project for the whole month of June and received a wonderful $1,100. Last year, as part of the East Avenue UMC, the children collected over $5,000 which included a matching donation from a long-time church member. The children were excited to choose the items we were able to send to countries in need, which included a heifer, pigs, and chicks. Cornerstone hopes to collect even more in the years to come.
Each quarter students at Westminster Christian Elementary and Preschool in Miami Florida give money to a "noisy offering" collection to help other in our community and around the world. This collection takes place during our weekly chapel time where students are learning to love God and serve others. The last quarter of the 2016-2017 school year, the students were inspired by the work of Heifer International and how an animal can change a family's life. Each week we collected coins and dollars towards our effort to purchase animals for families in poverty. By the end of the 9 weeks we had raised $5,411.66!!! We are praying for the many families that will be changed by our donation. Thank you Heifer International!
"Dear Read to Feed, I love how you encourage kids to read by bringing money to school and your teacher sends it to you to buy and animal or something else. I think it is like the best idea EVER!! Thank you again!" -Jakey
Decked out in Heifer gear, Kim completed both a 5k & 10k at the Chicago Rock 'n' Roll series earlier this month! After the race Kim shared, "At the expo, Toyota was customizing race shirts by adding a 'I run for...' logo on the sleeves. When I asked for 'I run for Team Heifer,' the person asked what that was. With a line full of people, I got to explain in great detail what Heifer does! All were impressed by the sustainability aspect of it. They loved it wasn't a one-time consumable gift, but rather a lasting one." We congratulate Kim for all of the time she spent training, raising donations to help families overcome poverty, and for sharing Heifer's mission wherever her feet take her! We invite you to click the title of the story to see more photos of Kim in her gear!