Maya Angelou once said, “When you learn, teach. At our best, we’re all teachers.”
I say, “We can learn something new every day, if our minds are open to it.” That means that day in and day out we are all students and we are all teachers…
I woke at 6:30 this morning, made breakfast for my daughter and husband who were headed out for one of their annual bonding events, and then I began a very special project of my own.
Those piles of supplies in the photo above began with this blog post, which turned into a dream project: to help teachers distribute materials to students who do not have the means to provide their own.
My vision became a reality much faster than I’d imagined, thanks to a pay-it-forward spirit that begins with Chicken of the Sea and a blogger named Stephanie Weaver, and spreads out from there…
My plan was simple: Begin a nationwide search for nominations. Pick ten lucky teachers whose needs match the supplies I have, pack and ship boxes of pay-it-forward love and joy.
Fortunately for me, my website didn’t crash due to thousands of submissions.
Because every entry moved me in some special way and I would have had an even harder time choosing…
Parents nominating teachers.
Teachers nominating other teachers.
Teachers nominating themselves.
One teacher’s poignant entry moved me beyond measure. You can read what she wrote here.
But the greatest and I do mean THE ABSOLUTE GREATEST submission came from a student, the very subject for which this dream began.
A STUDENT, Katie! I can’t say it enough and I just can’t stop thinking about that relevance to this entire pay-it-forward endeavor, and the sheer volumes that are spoken in this young adult’s letter.
The student wrote AN ENTIRE PAGE, AN ENTIRE PAGE that sums up what every loving teacher hopes to accomplish at least once in his or her career.
It just gives me goosebumps…
All of these educators will be surprised when their packages show up to school with their names on them. I’m contacting administrators in each of the buildings, in the hopes that they will be able to do some sort of public presentation and spread the power of the pay-of-forward phenomenon.
I’m going to personally deliver the five bundles selected from my state and am seeking people who are willing to sponsor the shipments to the five schools that are spread out across the country.
But I can’t stop thinking about this one teacher and the past-student who nominated her.
Firstly, this student didn’t identity his/herself, so I’m working with the school to see if they can somehow find this nominator. If at all possible, I’d like that person included in the surprise presentation. But I want it to be so much more. I’ll be looking into having local media on hand to recognize the work of this incredible teacher and the enthusiasm and gratitude of her scholar. We need to shine a spotlight on some of Maya Angelou’s lifelong “learners.”
Can you think of anything more positive to headline the news?
As I worked on sorting these materials this morning, I just couldn’t stop thinking that this one needs to be even more special.
That’s where you come in, Katie!
You see, this winner lives halfway across the country from me and as much as I’d like to be there in person, I just don’t see how I can.
But you can, Katie. You and your staff and your World 3.0 teams have the means to move those proverbial mountains, and to get there. You have the tools and the resources to capture the very essence of what teaching represents, to document a bond between student and teacher that will never be broken.
This student’s one page letter represents a link that will forever weave what education represents at its very core: threads that become imbedded into our hopes and dreams and desires and into our very purpose, those things that entwine student and teacher and education into a spark of passion that forever lies somewhere within us.
You are all about recognizing people who are changing the world through ideas. This teacher, an English teacher, changed the life of this one student with just that: Ideas.
Her ideas sparked in one child a love for learning and a desire to be the best self one can possibly be.
I would be honored if you’d partner with Stephanie Weaver, Chicken of the Sea, Staples, and The Five Facets to help us continue this pay-it-forward program!
Journeyer, YOU, no matter your name, are the missing link to bring this endeavor to a close and to help us bring a little Christmas cheer and some of the absolute best teacher’s gifts to five lucky mentors…
If you’d like to sponsor the delivery of one of these packages, or if you know someone who can, or if you have an way to make these presentations even more special, please reach out and let us know! Please send your interest and request to The Five Facets.
We have five packages to ship from central New York, going to CA, MI, WA, WI, and NC!
And thank you, Journeyer, thank you in advance from the bottom of my heart for being here and for anything you might be able to do to help!!
Until next time, yours in healing, hope, and happiness…