October is my favorite month of the year because this is when we, the public, get together to support public education by donating money to the DonorsChoose.org's Blogger Challenge 2009! DonorsChoose.org is a charity that uses your donations to purchase specific items and materials for classroom projects that the teacher has requested, and they send these materials directly to the classroom. Basically, this is a "fraud free" way to support public education and to help needy kids have the same educational experiences that helped to change and improve your life.
Last year -- my first year to help out -- my readers donated an amazing $2,885 to fund a variety of science projects, ranging from frog dissections, microscope purchases and providing the necessary materials needed to teach evolution.
This year, I am going to challenge you all to exceed last year's donations .. is it possible that we all can donate $3500? I started my Challenge by choosing a few projects to fund from high-poverty schools in states where at least a few of my readers reside, in the hope that you will feel a responsibility towards those kids and their projects. This year, I am using my choices to make a political statement regarding the importance of animals to science education. This year, because I am absolutely disgusted by PETA declaring DonorsChoose to be an evil organization because they support providing kids with the opportunity to dissect animals and animal parts (collected from slaughter houses), I have specifically chosen a few projects from high-poverty classrooms that involve dissection. I am very sensitive to the animals as well, so I support dissections that either do not use frogs (to avoid killing vulnerable leopard frogs) or I have chosen dissections that instead use preserved bullfrogs.
However, that said, I am going to do two things differently this year: First, I am going to let YOU choose some projects that I will feature on my giving page, so of course, my hope is that you feel a special responsibility to helping me get those reader-chosen projects funded. Second, I will do a wacky stunt to help increase your giving -- you tell me what you'd like to see me do that would inspire you to give more money to help these impoverished kids improve their science education!
I also have a request: I challenge all of you to add a link to my Challenge on your blogs and to publish an announcement on your blogs, on twitter, FaceBook, LinkedIn, MySpace and elsewhere, asking your readers, friends and followers to also pitch in to help these kids -- our future -- gain the valuable and transformative educational experiences they need to be successful in their future lives.
Wacky stunt? You could dress up as a parrot, and try to appear on Portuguese TV.