Choosing Kindness with DonorsChoose.org
At Born This Way Foundation, we’re proud to shine the light on organizations that are helping make the world a kinder, braver place. This month, we are excited to partner with DonorsChoose and highlight the important work they’re doing to provide resources to public schools.
As Hurricane Harvey devastated Texas, one Houston teacher decided to turn the disaster into an educational opportunity. Mrs. Deyoung, an elementary teacher, had a powerful idea: She would teach her students the importance of healing and kindness in the wake of a tragedy. Mrs. Deyoung wanted her students to create “healing hearts” for her students to give to neighbors impacted by the hurricane. Mrs. Deyoung hoped that by creating art to heal trauma in others, her students could find healing in themselves.
But after the Hurricane, she knew art supplies would be the last thing on the list of materials to replace. So she posted a classroom project on DonorsChoose.org, called “Healing Hearts for Hurricane Harvey” requesting art supplies like paper mache, paint, and gift bags.
Mrs. Deyoung is one of over 375,000 teachers across the country who have used DonorsChoose.org to request the learning resources they need to teach students about kindness, mindfulness, and compassion. Teachers work tirelessly to make sure that their students receive the best possible education, but they don’t always have the supplies they need to teach. In 2000, Charles Best, a teacher at a Bronx public high school, wanted his students to read Little House on the Prairie. As he was making photocopies of the one book he could find, Charles thought about all the money he and his colleagues were spending on books, art supplies, and other materials. And he figured there were people out there who’d want to help — if they could see where their money was going. Charles created DonorsChoose.org, and today, the site is open to every public school in America.
Here are three teachers who have posted projects on DonorsChoose.org to teach kindness:
Sandy Hook Elementary Memorial Quilt
After the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Ms. Kovacs’ 4th grade students, who had experienced similar trauma a few years before, wanted to reach out and show their love and support for those impacted. Mrs. Kovacs requested materials to create a handmade memorial quilt with 500 notes of encouragement and hope. The project empowered these students to touch the lives of others and give back to those suffering in difficult times.
Strengthening Social and Emotional Education to Create Tomorrow’s Leaders!
Mrs. Naranjo in Monte Vista, CO posted a project requesting dozens of books to help teach her students skills to increase social and emotional health. The books included The Bully Blocker’s Club, I Care About Others! (The Best Me I Can Be), How to Take the Grrrr Out of Anger, and The Children’s Book of Virtues. With a class full of students from many different backgrounds, both culturally and financially, she needed to cultivate a culture of kindness, respect, tolerance, and empathy.
Mrs. Naranjo says it best: “Socially and emotionally sound individuals are the most effective leaders of tomorrow.”
Mrs. Safieh requested materials to build a Buddy Bench with the 36 students in her school’s Kindness and Compassion Club. The Buddy Bench is a place for students to sit when they’re looking for a friend to play with at recess: If a child is sitting alone on the Buddy Bench, it’s a signal to other students on the playground to ask him or her to play. The Buddy Bench fosters compassion and eliminates loneliness and bullying.
Click here to explore more ways that public school teachers are teaching kindness, compassion, and mindfulness in the classroom. To learn more about our hurricane relief efforts visit donorschoose.org/hurricane-harvey or donorschoose.org/hurricane-irma.