My students in Spanish 4 finished a unit in January called Water is Life. Because I wanted to bring a connection to the communities ACTFL standard, I included some research on my cousin’s non-profit organization, The Bernie Project. She is working in Uganda, Africa with students from the Wakiso school. My students received videos from the students at the school in which they discussed their need for water. They researched ways to bring filtration to the school! It made the need for water real. At the end of the unit, we did a two week fundraiser (a snack shop in my classroom) and sent $800 to buy filters for the whole school! They felt so good about DOING something!
How can we create this culture of philanthropy at all levels of language study? I had never done anything like this until last year! Kristy Placido’s students read the novel Esperanza and did a fundraiser for the Dump the Dump project that was very successful. I mentioned it to my class of freshmen and they were SO excited about doing the same! They actually are the ones who came up with the idea for the snack shop! It has served us well as our go-to fundraiser for our charitable donations!
From the Dump the Dump project, they moved along to Living on One’s microfinance loan project. This year we hosted a speaker from Chichicastenango, Guatemala and donated money to the agricultural projects that he is spearheading in his indigenous village.
I live in a cultural vacuum and I have been able to find several good connections, just put out a couple of feelers and I am sure you can find someone too! If not, and you’re interested in more information about The Bernie Project, Dump the Dump, or Living on One, let me know and I will share!!
This community connection is so important because it lets students see how fortunate we are to have the things that we have here in the United States. I’m looking for project ideas in other places as well, if you know any organizations that have a food focus, please let me know, it would be great with the unit I am working on now! (I also just learned about the Pulsera Project and am going to look into that as well!)