When Sandlin was a graduate student zeroing in on her dissertation, she was also involved with science education in the surrounding schools system of Pittsburgh. In exploring the needs of the huge community of Pittsburgh K-12 students, she was introduced to the organization of “Donors Choose”, a place where teachers all over the country could post wish lists of special projects and resource needs that couldn’t be met by their communities. Interested donors could shop among the various interests, locations, programs and needs to make incremental contributions to a project that appealed to them. When enough folks got on board with a project, it was funded and completed, sort of like Christmas all year round for straining classroom teachers. We completed several project in honor of her graduation and have now gone back to some of the same teachers to give them another boost in honor of “30 for my 30th”. Lots of options, locations, needs, and gratitude from some folks who are doing their best with limited support that we can augment.
Ok, that sounds kind nice, right? Two years ago, we helped provide pencils and a pencil sharpener for a class whose students were too poor to afford their own, which was making it hard for them to learn to write. Ack! I liked this because, seriously, children need writing utensils, but it also reminded me that my Dad used to send me to school with markers and things for teachers. Donor's Choose allows people like me and my Dad (and my Mom) respond to specific teacher's needs and feel like we have a direct impact.
So to get my birthday party started, they looked up that teacher in Penssylvania to see if she needed help. Yes! She sent back a breathless response that she has just put together a request for tablets, which are a great tool for classrooms with multiple learning levels. Bam! It's funded.
You can see her joyous response here. It makes me so happy to read this! I hope I get this feeling all year long, it's going to be a great birthday!
If you want to support Donor's Choose for my birthday (and I love what they do) pick one of the underprivileged science classrooms in my area or find a need that speaks to you. Let me know what you've donated and we can share this awesome feeling together!