Posted: Friday, September 5th, 2008
Back to school season is upon us, and with it comes a flurry of activity – and healthy dose of worry, too. Is my child going to make friends? Will he like his teacher? Are his backpack, his clothes, or his haircut going to signal “nerd” or normal?
For all the overstressed moms and worried dads out there, I have a cure. And it involves taking a minute to stop thinking about your child’s lunchbox, desk partner, and hairdo.
Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and picture this: kids around the world with no Jonas Brothers backpacks, no Miley Cyrus erasers, and no MP3 players. No pens or pencils. No teacher. No school.
Can you picture it?
Chances are, you feel a little better about Timmy’s back to school gear and JoJo’s teacher assignment. But if you want to feel a whole lot better, consider skimming off the top of your back to school budget to help needy teachers and students get the resources they need.
Want to think globally? Global Giving, which connects donors to worthy projects and programs around the world, has a Back to School special on education projects. For just $50, you can send an Afghan refugee to school for a year, and a mere $10 can provide Nepalese students with a year’s worth of school supplies. Get your child involved, and you’ve got yourself a lesson in empathy – and geography – to boot!
Prefer to act locally? Sites like Donors Choose and Adopt-a-Classroom are a great way to contribute to classrooms across the United States. Donors Choose allows people to fund unique educational projects, proposed by teachers, that would otherwise never become a reality. Past projects have included setting up a classroom puppet theater, growing a class garden, and outfitting eager students with enough chess boards to go around. Adopt-a-Classroom lets you become a patron of a specific classroom by providing funding for supplies, as well as a caring connection that can include anything from serving as a chaperone on school trips to sponsoring special events such as a career day.
By choosing to donate to support another child’s education, you’ll not only be able to appreciate what your own child has – you’ll teach him one of the most important lessons of all: that helping matters.