Last year I was introduced to the wonderful organization DonorsChoose.org by fellow bloggers. DonorsChoose is a charity with a fresh and innovative concept. All around the United States, individual classrooms sign up with DonorsChoose. The teacher of the classroom then makes a request for donations for a specific item or program the classroom needs help funding. The donor then chooses the classroom he wants to give to. The students are the ones who benefit.
The schools that participate in DonorsChoose are mostly located in areas of extreme to moderate poverty. Some of the requests from teachers seem small such as creative writing supplies, or puppets for first graders - and some are quite large such as an overhead projector or a computer - all are certainly worthy. The idea behind DonorsChoose is quite simple: you, the donor, choose exactly who you want to donate to from a list. You can pick a needy classroom from your hometown or you may choose from a specific category such as "special needs." Each project lists the exact dollar amount the classroom needs, but you may donate any you amount you wish - from as little as a $1 to the entire amount. The neatest thing of all: for your gift, you will receive a personal thank you note from the children you are gifting! It's a very tangible way to donate - you see the results of your generosity and you know exactly where your donation is going.
This year Cote de Texas was asked to compete in the "Blogger Competition 2008" for DonorsChoose.org and I agreed to do so with great pride and responsibility. I have chosen the classroom to donate to from the list of schools in Houston. The individual project I chose to donate to is a kindergarten located in an area of "extreme poverty." Ninety percent of the students at this school are from Hispanic families with such small incomes that most are on either the free or reduced lunch program at the school. I thought this classroom made up of Hispanic students would be an appropriate one for Cote de Texas: the citizens of Houston rely heavily on the sweat and toil of our Hispanic neighbors, many of whom work outside in our blazing hot sun building our roads and our homes. Texas has benefited tremendously from its Hispanic population and I felt that this would be one way, albeit a very tiny way, to give something back in thanks.
The classroom I chose is located at Love Elementary School. Each year Love allocates only $50 per classroom for art supplies - a paltry sum that forces Love's teachers to dip into their own pockets to buy necessary supplies for their classrooms. Most school monies are concentrated on the higher TAKS grades - leaving the younger children to do without. The teacher of this specific classroom believes that working with and learning from a variety of art medias is necessary to help a child be successful in later life.
The teacher's request from the DonorsChoose organization is this: her kindergarten students need 39 different art media supplies such as paint, construction paper, stamps, etc. The total cost of the proposal is $1,077. Without our help, these kindergarten children will go without any art supplies this year. I chose this project specifically because I felt that the readers of Cote de Texas might be more sensitive to the importance of art and artistic expression. And further, I felt that this request for art supplies ties in with a design blog.
So, why am I telling you all this? I am asking my Cote de Texas readers to participate with me in the "Blogger Challenge 2008" if they so desire. You may donate whatever sum you want over $1.00 and to be sure, every dollar helps. To further motivate everyone who is interested in participating - Cote de Texas will be matching all donations made under its blog. Being involved in the "Blogger Challenge 2008" is just a fun way to compete amongst bloggers to heighten awareness of DonorsChoose. So, come on everyone! Let's make Cote de Texas the most successful blog in the "Blogger Challenge 2008!!!!"
It's very easy to donate - there are two ways. First, look on the left side of my blog, right under my picture, there is a widget from DonorsChoose.org. Click on the underlined words "Cote de Texas DonorsChoose.org "- this will take you directly to my donor page where you can make your gift. Otherwise, click right here to go directly to my donor page. If you do not wish to participate with Cote de Texas in this challenge, but still want to donate, go to www.donorschallenge.org and choose your own project! It is truly a wonderful cause.
I realize that the current economic issues of this day are scary for everyone. The future suddenly isn't as bright as it seemed just a few weeks ago and I understand that many families, mine included, are very worried about what lies ahead. While most of us are very fortunate in our lives, there are many around us who aren't. This is a good chance to turn the spotlight off ourselves for a moment and onto those who have the least in our society. We all have so much to give thanks for in our lives and sharing in our good fortune is very noble. If you do choose to make this donation with Cote de Texas - please know that I am most grateful!
OK COTE DE TEXAS READERS - CLICK THAT WIDGET OR CLICK HERE AND HELP MAKE COTE DE TEXAS THE #1 BLOG IN THE DONORSCHOOSE "BLOGGER CHALLENGE 2008!!!!!!!!"
Please read here to see what the teacher from Love Elementary has to say about her request:
"I need to provide my students with the tools they need to expand their experiences and brain capacities, for example using beads to create a pattern necklace or bracelet. Creating art using various media such as paint, dot art, or tissue paper will create more choices to express themselves visually. Molding and constructing with clay and foam will also promote dexterity and promote muscles needed to begin writing. Doing art projects with construction paper can also become a listening and comprehension activity( First fold your paper in half, etc...). Science is also investigated using materials such as 3D stampers in play dough to create casts and molds. Having worked with kids of this age for 5 years I also know the importance of having a set routine, and materials ready and easily accessible to my students, therefore a art work station would just be awesome!"
And more from the teacher : "You will help create and foster young minds by giving them the opportunity that many others have so easily. Help empower our young ones and provide the necessary appropriate materials they need to be successful! Please keep in mind these children want to be proud of their finished projects and expand their horizons. Art supplies will give my students experiences they might not get at home, and who knows in years pursue a career in architecture or art! I help mold the future but you can help me do this as well, any donation is guaranteed to change a student's life."