Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Slice of Life: Giving Tuesday Offers Hope to Others

I was planning on slicing today about learning but an email came across AOL and it touched my heart. It spoke about the stories we create and reminded me of the topic of NCTE 14. Just two weeks ago I was at the convention with educators from the Two Writing Teachers, Poetry Friday, Nerdy Book Club, and other groups. We shared stories of our learning, of students grappling with their learning, and ones of connected communities. We laughed, ate and learned together, and also perused and purchased books. Our stacks became larger each day. As we left the convention center, we took back priceless gifts: friendship, literacy learning, and our treasured friends-books.

This is not the way it is all around the world. There is a refugee village in Uganda by the Nile River that is populated by the Masese mothers and children who are struggling for food, education, and learning. It is through the gracious gift of time, support, and learning that the village has celebrated their good fortune of meeting the helping hands of H.E.L.P. Uganda. 
I have blogged about this organization and the gift of giving before (here and here). A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of working at a fundraiser for this group at our church. There were so many wonderful parishioners who listened intently to the story of creating hope from paper and wished to support the cause. 

On that day, children and adults listened to the story of the Masese mothers and children and supported the hope of sharing joy with others who are struggling. All twenty paper bricks on display were sold in the hopes of raising funds to construct three new classrooms. Beautifully handcrafted bags and jewelry were displayed, exhibiting the art of rolling paper into designed creations. A story unfolded about the generosity of St. Agnes Cathedral parishioners who crowded around the tables to share a gift of giving at the holiday. 

In the passage below you will read a joyful story of a Ugandan child reading aloud. It is a story to be told again and again. It touched my heart as an educator and it will touch yours because this is the gift of reading and learning that we bring to life each day in the classroom. 

Today is Giving Tuesday, 
the single most charitable day of the year. 

On this day, we ask that you help us continue to create more stories. Every time we have a team go to Uganda, we return with stories. Stories of lives that have been changed. Stories of success. Sometimes it's a story about a mother who carried her unconscious child from her home to our school, just in time for him to be rushed to the hospital, moments before he would have likely died. Sometimes it's not a story of an exact life changing moment, but a more gradual one, one that might be easy to go unnoticed. These are the ones that show the change that is happening in our village, the long term change, the change that gives us the encouragement to keep doing what we're doing. 

In October, at the end of a visit from a medical team, the children at HELP School put on a program for their visitors. At the end of this program a young girl, around 13 years old, stood up to read from a book. Before she read, she told her story about how before our school, she had never attended school, she just ran around the streets all day. And there she stood, reading perfectly.

What we are building there is more than just a classroom building or a fence. We are building a community up, and building a future full of promise.  When you purchase a brick to help build a new classroom at our HELP School in Masese, Uganda - you also get a Brick Gift Card to give to someone special in honor of them!

H.E.L.P. Uganda

Now stroll over to Slice of Life where you can write a slice of life story, read slices from other writers in the community, and provide comments to at least 3 of the SOL 14 bloggers.

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