October 22, 2011 by readlisaread
My focus for the foreseeable future, is going to be the 5 5 5 Project (click here if you want to see the newscast). One of the things my… (what shall I call Taylor Conroy? My guru? My sherpa? My inspiration?) friend said to my students when he visited them and started handing out $100 bills (see the newscast if you don’t believe me!) was that “Together, we are going to change lives”. Well, I believed it, no question. Children in far off lands were going to get to go to school because of the money we were raising. So yeah….. but it never occurred to me that the Changing of Lives was going to start right at my elbow.
The day after Taylor’s visit, Michael was supposed to be working on his InfoTech projects when I hear the printer going. “Micheal, what are you printing?” “Oh, just this thing for the school project” “Um, can I see?”. Of their own volition, he and 2 other kids had created this sweet message explaining what the 5 5 5 project was about, and how they would collect donations, but recommended people check with the Principal first. They even listed his full name. And spelled Principal correctly. I asked Michael what his plan was for these flyers, and the answer was that they thought they would print out 70 or so and hand them out to all the houses on their way home. I told him I thought it was a pretty cool idea, but more cool in that they had thought it out, worked on the message and were prepared to do the footwork too. This led to Moment #2.
Three days after our launch, a young man shows up at my door, asking if he could make a donation to the build-a-school project. I started to thank him and introduce myself, when he stopped me and said “I know who you are….you taught me in grade 5”. Sure enough, when I stopped and looked at him for a sec, I recognized him right away. “Marcus!!” I shrieked, “How did you hear about this project!? And also, when did you grow into a whole adult??”. It turns out one of the kids on the team handing out flyers is coached by him, and hit him up for a donation. Marcus, who just graduated high school last year, coaches kids 3 times a week, and probably doesn’t have a super-high-paying job, puts $60 in my hand. Just like that.
Moment number 3 is the one that affected me the most. Young Aneesha pops into my room between classes two days after the launch. “Mrs. Read, you know that school building project thing?” “Yes, Aneesha?” “Well, one of the schools is going to be in India, right? I was wondering if it could be an all-girls school, because in lots of places in India, girls aren’t allowed to go to school, and nobody really wants baby girls, and lots of times they put the girl babies in a box and there is this place you can take them and just pass the box through a wall, and it’s like an orphanage, but it’s just for girl babies no one wants.” I told Aneesha that I thought it was a fantastic idea, and that not only would I make that happen, Taylor has already been involved in a similar project building an all-girls school just like she described. Her eyes stretched wide and her smile wider and she just glowed to realize that only was her idea a valid one, other people shared it, and were ready to act on it.
Changing lives? Oh you bet….