Donors Choose Back-to-School challenge

As some of you already know, Six Apart (owners of livejournal) has been challenging bloggers to donate to Donors Choose, a nonprofit that takes proposals from teachers for projects that will benefit their classrooms. If enough donors support a given project, it gets funded; if not, the donors are free to support another project instead. I’ve donated to Donor’s Choose before; it’s always seemed a good way to do some concrete good in the world, and I like being able to see exactly which projects my donations are supporting.

Anyway, I went looking through Donors Choose’s current proposals, and was struck by this school’s antibullying proposal. The teacher is asking for only $196 to buy materials to train peer mediators to help her students resist violence and bullying in their classroom.

Students can’t even begin to learn if the classroom is a hostile place, as many of us know from our own time in school, or from watching and talking to children we know. $196 seems like so little money to make such a potentially huge difference in these kids’ day to day lives. And of course, the students are going to take the non-violent conflict resolution skills they learn with them after they leave the school, too, so the good done in this one classroom is going to ripple out into the larger world, too.

I’ve already made a donation to help make this project happen. If you want to help make it happen, too, here’s the Donors Choose page for Peer Mediators: Help Us “Be the Change We Wish to See.

And here are the details of the proposal, from that page:


Peer Mediators: Help Us “Be the Change We Wish to See”

Imagine a class of 5th graders in one of the most poverty stricken communities in not only New York City but in all of the United States. My students face enormous pressures in their day to day lives. Unfortunately, these “pressures” become intensified in a crime-ridden community such as Hunts Point.

Over the course of just 3 short weeks, I’ve watched and listened to my children ridicule and bully one another with their words. Additionally, I’ve had to come between sparring students who did not have the tools to resolve their differences without using their fists. I vowed that enough is enough! With your help, my students will be afforded the opportunity to be positive agents of change in their lives, their classmates’ lives, our school community, and hopefully, in Hunts Point.

I have received clearance to launch a peer mediation group in my classroom. While I have innovative ideas and eager young minds to peer mediate, we have little to no resources for our peer mediation endeavor. I will need books, videos, and manipulatives to both train and reinforce what peer mediation and conflict resolution is all about.

I am confident that this peer mediation program will help to improve my students’ learning environment as well as, teach them what it means to positively contribute to themselves and others.

With your assistance, my fifth graders will learn the skills they will need to empower themselves academically and socially. My end goal is to have a classroom of self-motivated, compassionate, and brilliant young citizens who will not stand for bullying or violence in their school or community.

Thank you in advance for your donation and making a difference in the lives of New York City’s Future Leaders!

My project needs 1 set of Character Education literacy books, a set of 12 anti-bullying situation cards, and a set of anti-bullying and violence prevention videos to view. The cost of this proposal is $196, which includes shipping for any materials requested and fulfillment.

(To support this program, go here. Or, to learn more about Donors Choose, go here. )

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