Thursday, August 7, 2014

A Little More #Edugood in the Name of PRAESPERO

Last week I posted about the first recipient of the inaugural new mini-grant program called PRAESPERO. Today I'm writing about another recipient of the mini-grant, challenges she faced, and her lessons learned.

Glad you're here for the journey of this little girl who wanted to "help children in need" by creating school-related goodie bags. Initially she wanted to take them to the hospital, but our local hospital doesn't have many kids--they typically travel to another one about 30 miles away. Because of logistics, she decided to create the bags for students who are without homes, for whatever reason, and we enlisted the Salvation Army to help.

Unbelieving after her phone interview, she was an excited
bundle of nerves!

With her partner, we celebrated the day she received her grant.

Being silly and serious--the girls hold up the
academic goodie bags they created for kids in need.

Shy, but ultimately proud of her work, she displays
her first bag of goodies.

Spending their early mornings planning and putting it all
Our local Salvation Army director gratefully received the
goodie bags and answered questions about how the gifts would
be used and distributed. Ms. Wrenn also taught the girls about
all the different resources the Salvation Army provides for those
in need in the area.
Unbeknownst to them, local Salvation Army rep,
Jane Wrenn, had also planned to bring them a
token of thanks for their work. So, yes, the girls
received their own little goodie bags.
Karmic cycle indeed. 
When asked if she would do this again, our recipient said absolutely. She wants to continue to "help kids who are in need", even if it's a little at a time. Her biggest lesson was that planning how to use a limited money is "so hard". It took a lot of time to complete her application because she struggled most with determining how best to use the money. She needed adult help for this part.

The biggest positives she gained? She feels like she "knows what she's doing more" now. So, there's a much-needed boost of self-confidence that we weren't anticipating from this normally very very hesitant girl. She was also thrilled to have the chance (via money) to help other kids who needed it. (Keep in mind that our school is high-poverty (95%), so she and her friends are no stranger to what it feels like to need something.) The third aspect was how she collaborated with others. She invited friends to help--and although many said they would, only a couple kept their word. She had also secured donations from the local dentist to include in the practical goodie bags. 

Time and budgeting--such great lessons to learn, and ones that we are always challenged with, right, adults? Self-confidence, opportunity, and collaboration to solve a community problem she had determined herself? Priceless. Worth every penny of the mini-grant. And then some. 

It was a blessing to be involved with Praespero this year, and we're anxious to watch it evolve and grow in new ways this coming school year. Mini-grants will be available this fall, specifically for younger students, and the primary stipulation is that they must use their resources to help someone else. Pretty broad, but then, we want them to "Believe Big".

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