At ASA the students are required to do a certain number (100 I think but I might be wrong) of community service hours before they graduate. This means that starting in Middle School they have community service projects and once a month the school has a half day where the students spend 4 hours or so in the morning doing the projects. Last Friday was one of those days and the first one that my community service group participated in. I have a group of 11th and 12th graders who are not in my normal classes and our mission is to educate the community about environmental issues.
We chose to work with 2 schools in the community with the hope that the kids could grow up with knowledge of these issues and hopefully help exact some change. The school we went to on Friday called Onodivepa is a very poor school on the outskirts of town near the airport which has as student population of over 200 from grades K-9. There are many more students in the lower grades as many students leave school to work and help support the family when they reach about middle school age. The school doesn't have much of anything for supplies and was a very spartan place in general. In speaking with the director I realized that they are so short on books that they only have one or two books for each subject for an entire class. It's no wonder that students in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade there still need help because they can't read well when there are no books!
My group worked with the students in grades 6-9 teaching them what global warming is, what causes it, a mini lesson about water pollution, making home-made lava lamps out of left over materials, and also setting up a recycling program with the school including arranging with a company to come pick up the recycling and pay the school for it. We decorated boxes for recycling with the students and set up reward systems to encourage them to recycle. If they reach the goals by the next time we visit the school, we'll throw them a party.
Meeting the students at the school and seeing how little they have really makes me want to help so I'm going to work hard on my own to get them some supplies (books mainly) wherever I can find them to help the school out. This is where you come in as a reader. I know that some of you out there might know a little about a charity or two that could be willing to help some students in a 3rd world country get a good education. If you do know of any charity or organization (this could even be your child's school if they are willing to raise some money for the cause) please get in contact with me and I'd be glad to show them a place where their help would be greatly appreciated.