My beloved Grandma, Constance Carsten, or Connie, as she was known to all and sundry, taught in the Staten Island, NY school system for 45 years. (Much to Grandma's disappointment, I did not want to become a teacher. Somehow, I ended up as an editor and then a writer and trainer. So maybe she's not disappointed now.) Grandma died in 1985, a few weeks short of her 90th birthday. At her funeral, tons of her former students showed up. An amazing tribute to an amazing woman, who was an enormous influence on me and so many others.
Recently, I was contacted by DonorsChoose.org, an organization that raises money for teachers who want to give their kids something more. They're sponsoring Blogger Challenge '08, which begins today and runs through the end of October. I agreed to participate because I remember my grandmother doing whatever she could for her students. And I love kids.
So what's the deal? I've chosen six different teachers and their projects, all wanting to teach their students how to weave. Four of the six teach in high poverty areas. If you go here, you can read about Blogger Challenge '08. Fortune Magazine just ran an article about it.
This is the first time I've ever asked readers to contribute money. I would not support something bogus, as you well know. This is a very worthwhile cause. Look around and if you see any other worthwhile projects that I may have missed, e-mail me.
I'm asking you all to dig in your pockets, even if it's just a dollar or two. I don't think that there's any question that the arts in schools have gotten the short end of the stick. I remember that I did some weaving back in grade school, on a very simple student loom. But I came from a wealthy community.
So what's the payoff for you? Here's what I'll do. If each of my Giving Groups reach $100 or more, I will buy some Red Heart Camo, make a really fugly hat, and have Super Jeenyus photograph me wearing it.
Now THAT'S a fucking sacrifice. I'm willing to make a total ass outta myself for kids. And why not? Who better?
Given that we've trashed Caribou Barbie, I think that the Camo is apropos. A lot of you mentioned it in the last entry's comments. Yuck. The mere thought of knitting with that crap gives me metaphysical hives.
So look at the sidebar and you'll see the ad for The KC's Fiber Kids Challenge. Click and give. And thanks to you rare and handy readers. Most of whom have kids themselves, no doubt.
And thank you, Grandma. And all the teachers out there. (Except for Mrs. Schmidt, my 6th grade teacher, who was a witch. Dottie shared in my torture.)