A third grade classroom at Jackson Elementary School chose to depart from the typical gift exchange this year, and instead, used the money to purchase gifts for families living in extreme poverty in other parts of the world.
So often, children want to help others and they dream up all sorts of plans to make the world a better place. It’s admirable that they feel compelled to help, yet it’s hard for adults to empower them to truly make a difference. This time, instead of saying, “yeah, it’s a nice idea”, one teacher said, “That’s an awesome idea, and I’ll help you make it happen.”
Together, the class looked at the World Vision website and learned about children who have so much less than we do – including safe water to drink. Through the World Vision organization, the children could purchase gift donations, such as a pair of rabbits or a family fishing kit. The rabbits would produce approximately 50 rabbits per year and provide food and income to the family. The fishing kit would empower a family to feed itself for years to come. The class considered many different gift donations, including two chickens (to provide protein, income for medicine), a goat (to provide milk, cheese, yogurt, fertilizer, and income), five ducks (produces hundreds of protein-rich eggs a year, provides income), one sheep (produces milk, wool for clothing and surplus to sell) or a share of a well or large animal, such as an alpaca. If the students chose to donate a goat, a teacher at Jackson Elementary offered to donate a second goat for a mate.
In groups, the students drew graphic organizers to decide which items to purchase. The graphs helped the children visualize which gifts would provide the most resources to the families.
The generous donations from students and their families enabled the classroom to make a difference in the world by collecting over $208! Instead of giving gifts to each other, the boys and girls chose to send two goats (including the matching donation), five ducks, a share of a well, and five fruit trees to starving families around the globe.
The classroom teacher (who wishes to remain anonymous) was overwhelmed by the size of the students’ humanitarian donation. She observed, “This is a heartwarming act of generosity, and I consider it a privilege to work with such amazing kids. The parents should be very proud of their child’s selfless attitude and genuine concern for the poorest people on this Earth.”
Thanks to the students and families in this classroom, this will be a life-changing Christmas for many needy people.
Pictured above are students researching gifts to donate to needy families.
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice in nearly 100 countries around the world. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.