“When you learn, teach. At our best we’re all teachers.” ~Maya Angelou
It’s a great day, Journeyer, and it’s about to get EVEN BETTER!
Today, we have the opportunity to change lives.
You and me and Chicken of the Sea and the neighbors filling the rooms next door to us are about to make a difference of the Nth degree kind.
Across America people are preparing for Back to School.
Some of us are shopping at places like the Gap, where I once saw a woman ring up a tab of nearly six-hundred dollars on two outfits.
Some of us are shopping at outlet malls or back-to-school sales or at big-box retailers.
Some of us are shopping at thrift and second-hand shops.
Some of us are not shopping because the event hasn’t found its way into our busy schedules.
Some of us are not shopping because we don’t have the financial means to make those purchases or the physical means to get us there.
And, sadly, there are those among us who are not shopping because their personal priorities conflict with their children’s needs.
For those of us who can and do, there is a great deal of excitement and anticipation mixed in with a little stress and anxiety about the unknown for us and for our kids.
Those same things hold true for many of those students whose parents cannot come up with the means and for those of parents who won’t.
But for many of those children there is a great sense of dread, an overwhelming angst about how they are going to fit in, how they are going to be able to do their homework on empty stomachs, or how they’re ever going to be able to stay awake in class after a night of sleeping on a hard, cold floor.
And though our system is stressed to splitting its support seams, there are millions of people who are working hard to give these children what they need to survive and to thrive to the best of their ability and in spite of their environmental circumstances.
Some of those people are the teachers that stand in the front of their classrooms.
Having been involved in the wings of our education system for many years, I know that these leaders are more than educators.
Many of these people are, to the children, like the parents that are missing from the home equation.
Year after year I watch as these mentors spend countless dollars on supplies for their classrooms, most of the time these materials are for the students of those families who won’t or can’t.
Additionally, though, these givers are also spending their hard-earned dollars on items to help enrich their curriculums and programs, to enhance creativity, and to make the classroom more functional for all of its children.
I have teacher friends who regularly pool their financial resources with colleagues to purchase pure necessities like socks and pants and shoes.
Though teachers are allowed to write off a certain amount of these job-related expenses, the people I know far exceed the expenditure cap.
This recent Forbes article shines a tiny little light on the gravity of this generosity.
Last summer I wrote this piece about the best teacher gifts ever.
What teachers want and desperately need are classroom books and pencils and crayons and binders and flash drives and even bigger items like iPads for special needs students.
These are the gifts that we can wear day in and day out, they are the material things that are seen and used and blessed with thanksgiving almost every single day.
After I wrote that article, I had this big idea to do a grand scale drive and to donate collected materials to teachers in need everywhere.
I purchased some supplies to start off the endeavor, but when The Five Facets work began to take off, my attentions were redirected.
But the idea has stayed with me.
When school supplies started hitting the stores a month ago, I bought a few more items to add to the stash.
As you know, I’ve spent most of the summer on the road and following a very hectic schedule, one that hasn’t allowed me the time to take on such a venture.
But something happened three days ago, Journeyer.
I’m calling it Serendipity.
On August 9th, I stumbled upon Stephanie Weaver’s blog post Gratitude, Good Deeds, and Paying it Forward with Chicken of the Sea,and her call for entries to a $250 pay-it-forward sweepstake challenge she was facilitating for Chicken of the Sea.
I entered with my idea about providing much needed supplies to teachers. Then I forgot about it.
There were two-hundred responses by wonderful women and maybe a few men who had some of the most fabulously charitable thoughts, like the woman who was going to purchase fresh produce for elderly residents.
My little inspiration and I were lucky enough to be randomly selected.
The time to act is now.
No more excuses or putting this on the back burner, and I might add that I’m so thanking my lucky stars because I no longer have to worry about all those glue sticks drying out!
Here’s what I’ve decided to do, Journeyer.
I’m taking the $202.37 royalty payments from Digging for the Light: One Woman’s Journey from Heartache to Hope and adding the balance to match Chicken of the Sea’s pay-it-forward campaign.
Five-hundred dollars, Journeyer!
I’m so excited, and though I’d love to give to every educator with a need, I’ve got to make it count in as many ways as possible.
I’m going to take advantage of back-to-school sales, purchase as many items as I can, and donate fifty dollars worth of school supplies to ten deserving teachers.
Here’s where you come in, Journeyer.
Are you ready?
Put on those thinking caps because there are many ways for you to join in!
I’m going to select five of those teachers from my own back yard, and I’d like to choose the remaining five from your suggestions, matching needs to my stash.
That’s #1, nominate a deserving teacher here.
Spread this invitation like unbridled knowledge.
Spread it anywhere and everywhere! And if you’re on Google+or Facebookor Pinterestor Twitter be sure to mention us!
I’d also be super-stoked if you’d click those little Like and Add buttons, too!
Some of you will be thinking We can reach more than ten teachers. We need to reach even more!
We do and we can!!
Start your own collection. If you’re a homeroom mom, ask parents to contribute whatever they are able to toward a collective Christmas or end-of-year gift for your child’s class.
Or, if you don’t have school-aged children, start a collection through any groups you belong to and make a donation to a local school.
If you want to do more but aren’t in a position to start your own collection, purchase items and send them to The Five Facets. If you have a target audience, let me know. I’ll do everything I can to match the supplies with an instructor with a similar wish.
If you have access to coupons or discountsor think of any other way to maximize these efforts I’d love to hear from you!
If you know a business you think might be willing to participate, send them to our site.
If two heads are better than one, then many minds are just downright genius and glorious!
Maya Angelou said, “When you learn, teach. At our best we’re all teachers.”
When we understand the value of giving, when we practice paying it forward, then so we edify philanthropy.
Thank you, again, Stephanie and Chicken of the Sea for making this possible.
Thank you, Journeyer, for whatever small or big part you are willing and able to play in this endeavor!
We have until October 15th, at which time I’ll finalize the ten recipients and begin packaging the items to send out around November 1.
Ready. Set. Sponsor! Share! Shop!
Until we meet again, yours in healing, hope, and happiness…