Friday, April 29, 2011

Teaching Citizenship Part 3 25 Cents a Day

cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by Royal_Rivers

Welcome to 25 Cents a day.

This project was inspired by a email I received from Brian Metcalfe.

He had run across this post from 2008. All about one youth and 25 days to try to create change.
I challenged everyone who read my blog to TRY to do something every single day during the holiday season to make a SMALL difference in his or her world. I explained that whoever made the “most difference” in December would win a $25.00 donation to the charity of his or her choice on Christmas night. I SAVED ALL OF MY ALLOWANCE ($25) FOR THE MONTH OF DECEMBER, AND I WAS REALLY SURPRISED AND EXCITED WHEN SEVERAL PEOPLE  GENEROUSLY OFFERED TO MATCH MY DONATION (OR MORE)!

At Sargent Park we do many things over the holiday months. We have done

This year it was time for the Grade 8 Students to do something different.  

What happens when you challenge students to give up something for a prolonged period of time.  You get many groans and moans.  If you keep it simple enough the groans turn to cheers and hope.  25 cents a day asked students to donate THEIR OWN MONEY so that we could give it to charity.  The goal of this project was to empower students to learn how to give.  Over the 3 weeks of the project the goal was to raise up to $600.  140 students at .25 a day means $35 a day and over the 15 days that would mean about $525.  Of this money half would go to a local charity and the remaining would be donated to Kiva.

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by charbeck10

The students were asked to bring in a quarter every day.  A quarter of their own $$ not to ask their parents for it.  The quarter symbolized giving up something for someone else.  It was not a large sum of money but perhaps 1 less chocolate milk a week so that the could help out others in need.  

Can you do without something.  Something small but can you sacrifice for the common good of all.  Students were at different levels of giving.  Some struggled to bring in the quarter while others donated $5 more than once during the campaign.

One might ask did all students participate equally.  The answer would be no.  Just like with society some gave more than others.  I will say this that all students did participate.  All gave at least $1 and felt good about it.

Does this fit here?
Not surprisingly, people who belong to online communities having to do with local matters are more likely to say that the Internet has gotten them more involved with their cities or towns.  One in seven members (14%) of local online groups say the Internet has helped them become more involved in their local community.  Nearly one in five (19%) of people who joined local online groups after first having Internet contact with them say the Internet has increased their involvement with their community.

I sent out a tweet and asked if other schools wanted to participate.  I received 4 responses.  2 of them did not pan out because of their own school policies.  I did get a positive hit from Karl Fisch.  He is an Algebra Teacher at Arapahoe High School in Colorado.  He challenged his students to participate and they raised $ 77 in two weeks.  He then had his father and a friend from Afghanistan join in to top it off at $300.  Having a global connection during this project spurred my students on more.  They started to dig deeper into their pockets and donate even more. Not exorbitant amounts but they did bring in more in.

The hardest part of this project for me was to remember to pass the hat around every class.  The students however would remind me and continue to donate.  In the end we raised $519.  That is close to our goal of $600.  I donated some extra to Agape Table on their behalf and topped up the Kiva fund.  

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by charbeck10

Here is the twist.  When I introduced the students to Kiva they became even more attentive.  On the last day of school I had them all in my room and we were watching the Smartboard.  At Kiva we started to choose the recipients for our donations.  The kids really were interested in the small write ups about each recipient.  We would read a possible recipient and the class would erupt in cheers of yes fun him or her.  It started to become contageous.  By the time it ended we had funded 12 micro loans.  Each being $25.  Here are some profiles from Kiva of people we helped.
Alex is from the village of Rizal West San Isidro. He is 46 years old. Alex is single. To make a living, Alex owns and operates a business venture in the agriculture sector raising livestock. While not the only means for generating revenue, the main source of income for the business comes primarily from raising chicken for sale. Alex has been engaged in his business for more than two years and earns approximately 2,000 PHP a month for these activities.

Dominique owns a business that sells soft drinks. She is 40 years old, married and has five children who are between four months and eighteen years old. Her husband is a driver.
Dominique has been selling soft drinks for sixteen years. Her loan will be used to buy more milk, bread, mineral water, and juice to sell.

She hopes to use the new profits from her business to buy living room furniture. She dreams to have a supermarket in the future.   

Gungaabuu Ulziibat, 35 years old, lives with his wife and four children in the Bayanhongor province of Mongolia. The family lives together in a ger, a traditional Mongolian nomadic tent, in his brother's enclosure. All of his four children attend a local school and his wife is currently unemployed. Gungaabuu supports his entire family by operating a taxi service in his town. At first, he started a coal and firewood sales business in 2006 and stopped in 2009 due to bad sales. Since May 2010, he has been managing a taxi service after purchasing a car. For the future, he hopes to buy his own enclosure and grocery shop. He is requesting a 300,000 MNT loan in order to purchase necessary tools and parts, such as 4 tires, for his car.  

Kiva is a site where you can donate and create microloans for people in around the world.  Once you invest in Kiva and your loan is paid back you get to reinvest the origional donation with other groups and individuals. Here is more information about what Kiva does.

Kiva's mission is to connect people, through lending, for the sake of alleviating poverty.

Kiva was born of the following beliefs:
  • People are by nature generous, and will help others if given the opportunity to do so in a transparent, accountable way.
  • The poor are highly motivated and can be very successful when given an opportunity.
  • By connecting people we can create relationships beyond financial transactions, and build a global community expressing support and encouragement of one another.

Kiva promotes:
  • Dignity: Kiva encourages partnership relationships as opposed to benefactor relationships. Partnership relationships are characterized by mutual dignity and respect.
  • Accountability: Loans encourage more accountability than donations where repayment is not expected.
  • Transparency: The Kiva website is an open platform where communication can flow freely around the world.

As of November 2009, Kiva has facilitated over $100 million in loans.

When we do 25 cents a Day next year I will show the faces of the people we could be helping and share their simple stories.  Stories of people wanting a loan so that they can make their  lives better. We will use last years money to start the program off.  This will show the faces of the people we have helped and encourage the donations to start coming in.

To take this project school wide I plan to include the Grade 7 team.  They study Developing Countries.  They will choose a country and go to Kiva to find a possible recipient of their fundraising.  The site and profile of the recipient will give great background information about the country and of the people who live there.

 So as I presented to a crowd of educators I mentioned the following stats....

500 of us in this room teaching approximately 15 000 students.  If each one of them brought in $5 over the campaign we would have raised $75 000 dollars.  If half of that goes to local charities and the other half goes to Kiva $37 500 becomes 1 500 micro-loans of $25.  Pretty powerful math.

Now I challenge the online community. There are just as many of your reading this post and what could you and your students do? Kiva is a fantastic chance to take student philanthropy to the next level.  Through the use of Social Media we now have the ability to help people with a click of a mouse.  Using microloans allows kids to take control. $25 makes a difference,  Contact me and we can create a movement that will change peoples lives.


Mr. Oldcorn said...

Great stuff Mr. Harbeck. I am looking at doing a lot more of this sort of thing next year.


Maxine said...

wow Mr H! Have only just become aware of how many online blogs on education there are and yours is one of the first I have been exposed to- and suddenly feel embarassed by how little I have done with my students community wise- I teach 5th grade at a private Brazilian school- schools here seem to be becoming all about profit- education as a product-its all about numbers- losing students vs keeping them at all costs. And not much involvement towards community, which is really sad. Am going to check out the Kiva site you mentioned. Thanks for being such an example to all teachers-a pioneer Breaking grounds and making a positive real and impactful difference.