After about four months of working together -mostly “them” against little o’me- my classes seem finally in sync with the level of intellectual effort that they must demonstrate since the semester is almost over. (Only 12 more school days left.) They weren’t perfect but they delivered today. As a matter of fact they pleasantly surprised me by their current project which required them to do charity work for those less fortunate.
The reason I chose this particular assignment is so I don’t go insane surrounded by a bunch of self-involved teenagers.
Our journey began September 30th when each student needed to pick a charity that focused on helping other children. Then they needed to make sure they completed their charity work by November 30th! Today we began their presentations and my students gave my hope. They worked at churches to help box gifts for boys and girls of various ages or they helped feed the less fortunate at a local soup kitchen. Some students helped raise money for Operation Smile or even made blankets for Project Linus to give to children. My students produced power points that were top notch and some kids even used their video editing skills that looked professionally produced. I was thrilled by their charitable projects and that they were totally running the “show” so I could be an audience member during their class presentations…and just when I thought I knew my student’s abilities one group took my breath away.
Karly, Monica and Lily decided to do their charity work for an organization that does laundry for financially struggling people. Monica shared how a family of four spends approximately $1,200 a year on laundry expenses. Then Karly said, “we helped this woman but she only knew Spanish. And since Lily is in Spanish level four she talked with her…and the woman told us how she is working to put her daughters through college.”
“Yeah, and she started to cry thanking us for being so nice to her but she said she just wanted her daughters to have a better life so she doesn’t mind working” Karly added.
Oh, god. They had a real life moment that hit me hard. How simple. Karly, Monica and Lily stood in front of the class sharing their experience and I never had heard of this organization. I was so proud of these girls. They understood that this made a difference in another woman’s life. Offering to pay to do someone’s laundry is a perfect form of charity for kids to see how just something as simple as doing laundry can make a difference.
A seemingly ordinary assignment of charity becomes an unforgettable experience for me. I shall never look at laundry the same way.