Thanks to SEED's matching Bloggers Challenge funds and some generous donors who gave me DonorsChoose gift certificates for Christmas, I got to push several worthy projects to completion this winter (by "topping off" their funding). That meant that I got real, snail mail thank-you packages from those classrooms.
At first I was a little ambivalent because I didn't really want the kids to spend their valuable classroom time thanking me. But then I realized that while writing those thank-you notes, they spend at least a few minutes thinking about the fact that a complete stranger cares about them, believes they have potential, and thinks they deserve an outstanding education. Once I reframed it that way, I started enjoying these thank-you packages - so much so that I papered a wall of my office with them!
These notes are from Mrs. S's classroom, which received a tank of "glofish" to observe. My favorite is the one in the middle - not just a thank-you, but a sience thank-you! Awesome! Not to be outdone, Mr. T's class (no, not that Mr. T) sent me a package of notes and some excellent Renaissance-style construction paper "woodcut" prints. Now my thank-you wall is a fun reminder of how effective these projects are and a great conversation-starter at work.
Incidentally, while glofish and printing presses are wonderful, not all DonorsChoose requests are curricular "gravy." I gave to one challenge months ago which still hasn't been completely funded - new, child-sized chairs for special education students in a high-poverty Idaho school. Unfortunately, it will expire unfulfilled in only a few days - perhaps because chairs aren't as much fun to give as glofish or art supplies. I'm not sure what the stats are on the "cool" DonorsChoose projects vs. the "basics" like chairs, but I bet the basics get less attention.
Anyway, if you know someone who would get a kick out of a personalized thank-you package, consider funding a project in their name, or give them a gift certificate so they can choose their own. More info at DonorsChoose.
I was touched by the "thank you" notes I got, too, especially sine only one kid misspelled my name "Brain", but that was cute anyway.
I confess to being slightly jealous. I got a bunch of typewritten sheets from some kids which, while gratifying, was not exactly personal since they were all "signed" "A student".
Another of the projects I funded put pictures online and when I went to view them I just saw an error message saying "sorry, the pictures didn't turn out!"
If I hadn't won an octopus painting for donating, I don't know what I'd do. :-D Of course that's not the real reason I gave in the first place, the real reward is knowing that these young, bright, wonderful people will have opportunities they wouldn't have otherwise had!
Yeah, I loved the packages of thank you notes, too. One student told me, "Yo, if anyone messes with you, I've got your back!"
Good news, your kids are getting their chairs, and it looks like your post was the inspiration for at least one donor (not me, it was done by the time I got here). Good on you, BioE!
AWESOME! What a wonderful surprise to return to after being out of town & unable to blog all weekend!
And yes, I know who is responsible for this - I'm going to thank him/her privately, but it is an awesomely generous person I met via my blog who really cares about kids and has given to a number of donerschoose projects in the past. This project was near to my heart for several reasons, so I'm extremely grateful to the donor. THANK YOU.
(And If anyone else wanted to contribute, there are so many other deserving projects on donorschoose, you really can't go wrong.)