FROM WALLINGFORD – How to help students

As published in the Record Journal on Sunday September 12, 2010

Jason Zandri

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DonorsChoose.org is an online charity that makes it easy for anyone to help students in need. Public school teachers across America post classroom project requests on DonorsChoose.org for just about anything and it is from these project requests that individuals can search and give any amount to the ones that motivate their desire to give.

When a project reaches its funding goal, DonorsChoose.org delivers the materials to the school.

In the September 1, 2010 issue of the San Francisco Chronicle a story ran about a telephone call that Charles Best, the founder of DonorsChoose.org, received. the woman on the other end of the call wanted to know what it might cost to fund all of the currently posted projects for the state of California as listed on the DonorsChoose.org website.

Charles took a best guess and responded with “something over $1 million.”

Over the next couple of days there was some follow up and the end result was that the woman caller, Hilda Yao, the executive director of the Claire Giannini Fund, made the grant to do just that — to give $1.3 million to cover the entire California wish list — 2,233 projects in all.

The full story can be found at http://bit.ly/00003FW (case sensitive).

While I can only assume how nice it must be to have that kind of money to use for philanthropic causes I know that just because I don’t it doesn’t mean I cannot affect change at my own level and in my own way.

You can too.

There is a project at DonorsChoose.org for a classroom in need at Rock Hill school right here in Wallingford. the project is titled “Window to the World: From Photography to Writing.”

Our family already donated twice to the project back in June and we are from the Stevens School / Pond Hill school district so we’ve done so without any potential gain from it as our own children will not be going to school there.

The project still has $370.95 to go before it is fully funded between now and October 26th when it must be funded or it expires.

My daughter Angela just started Pre-K at Moses Y. Beach and a wish list was provided from the teacher of supplies that the students could use. Crayons, markers, colored pencils and other consumables for the classroom. My wife and I donated what we could afford and other parents did the same; I am pretty sure those 16 Pre-K students have everything extra that they needed in just the first week of school.

Little efforts like these are how anyone can make a difference.

Rather than assuming that someone else will take care of it or that the town will come through with funding from tax dollars, each of us can get skin in the game and help out.

If you don’t have the money to donate then perhaps you have the time — the schools could use that too.

It is so easy to arm chair quarterback what the Board of Education ought to do and how much the town should earmark for the schools. There are only so many tax dollars that can be collected and redistributed to the schools before it negatively impacts the residents and the businesses in town more than it already does.

I realize as well that times are tight, tighter than they have been in generations.

The money is still out there. People are spending it, albeit at a much slower pace than in the few years before the recession.

Pull the car away from the drive through for just one night and consider giving that money to any cause you deem worthy of your hard-earned dollars instead.

You might just find that your investment in someone else’s needs reaps more dividends than you could have ever hoped to have earned on your own for just yourself.

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