Goats, chickens, ducks, rabbits, heifers, sheep, bees, alpacas – and also clean water and sending a girl to school. Lincoln Middle School eighth-graders are currently working on an unusual fundraiser so they can buy those “gifts” for families living in poverty around the world.
“We are partnering with Heifer International to support families living with hunger and in extreme poverty,” said math teacher Claire Olson-Crocker. “Students learned about how this program helps people become self-reliant instead of giving them a temporary handout. Each student has identified a ‘gift’ that they want to purchase for a family.”
In order to get funding for the gifts, students are employing a number of strategies. For example, Olson-Crocker said, “each student has written a persuasive letter to a business, telling them about Heifer International, the gift they hope to give and asking for support.” They are also making a list of relatives, neighbors and family friends who might be able to help and saving their spare change.
Heifer International is a nonprofit that works in 125 countries to help families in poverty attain sustainable livelihoods through community-owned interventions.
The students, who will be accepting donations into early May, hope to raise $3,000. It’s anticipated that at least some of the funds they raise will be matched by a local business and other donors. “We hope to be able to have twice the impact,” Olson-Crocker said.
They’ve learned how to write persuasively and how to address envelopes. “Some students who have not shown much interest in writing before have actually written multiple letters,” Olson-Crocker said.
The students also have watched videos that informed them about poverty and hunger in various locations.
“It is reassuring to see how many students are excited about being able to help families in need,” she said. “If students learn that they have the power to change one family's life, and collectively we have the power to improve the lives of people living in a small village, we will have empowered them to think globally in the future.”
To donate, go to https://fundraise.heifer.org/
Look for Lincoln Middle School under the heading "Find and Support a Team."