Sunday, October 24, 2010

More Than Enough - The Power of Giving: One Child, One Dollar

One of my fondest memories of the after-school program I used to run was the Alice in Wonderland Tea Party at the after-school program I run. There were cookies, cupcakes and pizza slices being sold. There were "mad hats" being made and other art activities. The goal was to raise money for clean water in Burkina Faso (a small country in Africa). 

The students hoped to raise $250, which would provide a toilet for students at a school in a small country across the world. When, the activity booths were closed, and the cookies and cupcakes and pizza were gone, everyone gathered in the cafeteria. I proudly announced that we raised $225. After the claps died down, I heard a small voice.

"Miss Jen, here," came the words of a little boy, who extended his hand and offered another dollar. Then, another student raised their hand and offered up a couple more dollars, then another and another and another. $5 here, 35 cents there, and on and on and on.

I was noticeably moved by this generous act of students, who know all to well the value of a single dollar. (This boy himself often came to school in ill-fitting, tattered clothing, yet had been moved by the needs of other children across the world who had no running water or toilets).

Later, when I had a chance to count what was given in that final burst of generosity (where the students were not receiving activity tickets, cookies, cupcakes or anything else in exchange for their money), I counted $41, and that didn't include the change.

$41 more dollars, which all began with 1 student and $1.

In my mind, I heard Margaret Mead's words: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens (or kids -- my addition) can change the world..."

And I added my own: 
 "Never doubt that a simple, single act of kindness is too small. Indeed, it may become more than enough."

Do you have a story about kids making a difference? Please share it! I'd love to hear all about it.