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.)
The end of hunger isn’t a fairy tale
Welcome to the Heifer family. Donors, volunteers, recipients and our teams around the world share a common goal: To end hunger and poverty in a sustainable way. It’s a lofty goal, but we know it's achievable. Together we are the family that can create this change.
Together we can make cows fly
See stories of how lives are being transformed around the globe through Heifer's work in more than 20 countries.
See where Heifer is working around the world to end hunger.
Last year our 2nd Graders voted to raise money for 1 cow ($500). We ended up raising enough money for one cow and MANY more animals ($1,349)! The money was doubled because we fundraised during a matching season. This year we hope to duplicate our efforts. The students of this year's 2nd Grade are excited to pass on the gift and loved reading Flora and the Runaway Rooster with Heifer International's very own Asmi Patel (who visits us each year to kick off and celebrate after our fundraising). They are empowered by last year's success and hope to have their own this year! Our school has children from all over the world - knowing that as we Read to Feed we are sending shockwaves of love and passing on the gift to an international community keeps the teachers wanting to do this year after year.
"What Heifer International means to me is putting animals into people's lives that really need them. Without Heifer so many people's food and land would be taken from them and without Heifer, hunger would still be a very big thing. Another thing that Heifer means to me is 'cow', Heifer means cow. To me cow represents all of the cows and other animals that have been given to people. Because of Heifer, stopping hunger has a very, very big chance. This is what Heifer international means to me." Submitted by Gertie A.
It's been a year since the unexpected death of beloved Leominster High School history teacher Michele Oshman, and her departure still resonates with faculty and students. "She had a really solid core group of people here who were friends and there's no way you can't feel her absence," said friend and fellow teacher Andrea Grimes. "There's definitely a light that's missing, but I also feel that people have tried to pitch in and fill whatever voids they can." For Grimes, pitching in means making sure that her friend stays remembered at one of her most favorite places by raising funds to have a play structure installed at Heifer Farm in Rutland. Please click the title of the story to read more!
When given the room, given the training, given the space, [leaders] pop up.Pierre Ferrari, Heifer CEO
As part of an economics unit, Altamahaw Ossipee Elementary's second grade students learned about donating money. Teachers read their classes the story of Beatrice and her goat to introduce Heifer International to the students, and students then prepared to open a lemonade stand to raise money. We asked parents to donate supplies, and we invited the entire school to visit the stand and purchase a glass of lemonade. It was a huge success! We raised $460.00!!! We used the money to gift a llama, honeybees, a flock of geese, a flock of chicks, a sheep, and a goat. We are so excited to know that we were able to help families around the world!
I just have to brag a little and share the story of my daughter, Rylie. She is an 8th grader at Clinton Middle School. Rylie had a school project of researching and reporting on something that she had a passion for. She researched several things on the internet and then found the Heifer International Send a Girl to School. She loved the idea of helping another girl across the world to go to school and have the opportunities that she has. Not only did Rylie report on this project - she raised money for this project. Rylie did a brief report of Heifer at our church one Sunday morning and asked for donations from the congregation and then she held a volleyball tournament at her school during their RTI (Free hour) and charged everyone $1 to participate. She had 20 teams involved including a teacher team. Through both of these events Rylie raised $353.00. She not only had enough to send a girl to school for $275.00 she also put the balance to the Women Self Help Group. I am so proud of her for going above and beyond to help with this amazing project.
Over two decades ago, a group of ladies met each other at a workshop and have been celebrating their friendship every year since. This past Christmas, Afton, Barbara, Cruz, Eleanor, and Gloria wanted to reach out with their support instead of gifting to each other. They researched the organization and decided together that they would give the gift of a goat. Afton wrote, "The goat that will be offered to a family comes with a lot of thought, best wishes, and support. This gift adds to our holiday season as we know it will add to many people's lives." Last year marked their 25th year of friendship! Thank you to Afton, Barbara, Cruz, Eleanor, and Gloria for your generous hearts and support!
This picture shows the baby jersey and mother jersey. It was taken about two weeks after the birth. | Sung Ji won Orphanage, 1963
"I am a clergywoman whose ministry has shifted from parish work to fiber art in the last five years. I recently sold one of my pieces. I try to match each piece with an appropriate charitable organization and you are the group I found to match this one. It is called 'Texture of Water' and is part of a texture series I did of the five elements. As a long-time supporter of Heifer International, I thought one of your safe water programs would be the ideal project to receive my donation. My hope is to keep the price of the piece low enough that is is affordable to a wide range of people, so that it can go to someone who needs it..." -Rev. Andrea La Sonde Anastos.
This year Celebration High School held a 5K to raise money to support the efforts of Heifer International. I am so happy to say that we had almost 500 students participate and we raised $6000. It was a great day and we look forward to doing it again! This picture is from a petting zoo we had at the end of the race because most of our students have never actually seen farm animals.
"My name is Lauren and I told my church about Heifer International. Before Christmas, my mom and I were going through our catalogs and I found this one. The next minute my mom asked who I was calling, I told her Heifer International. She had many questions, but she had to wait till I was done. A month later, I was speaking at church. I raised $2,055 to give to Heifer International..." Please click the title of the story to read Lauren's speech!
Students at Putnam Indian Field School hosted their annual Art Show, which showcased the beautiful artwork they created throughout the school year. The children adopted Heifer International as the charity to benefit from their work! Throughout the show, they posted their thoughts about what Heifer means to them to help their parents understand the importance of helping others. One student wrote, "Mommy and Daddy want to see our art, and we want to help the people who don't have things to have things and be happy." Please click the title of this story to access the full article!
I teach kindergarten at West Cypress Hills Elementary in Spicewood, TX! In my classroom I stress critical thinking, aiming to inspire students to be curious about the world. I tie in real life applications to my lessons, which increases student engagement and interest. When students have questions about a concept, maybe something we're reading about in the classroom or an issue they bring in from home, we take the time as a class to explore. In doing this it allows for exposure to research and collaboration. Recently, we read the book Beatrice's Goat and my students were very curious about Beatrice's life and Uganda. We did some impromptu research into Uganda and Heifer International and this resulted in the students wanting to make their own impact and with some brainstorming. We devised a plan to raise money for this organization... Please click the title of the article to read how the Welephants are reaching their goal!
Pamphlet produced by Heifer Project during the 1940's & 50's