Monday, May 16, 2016

Challenges and Pinwheels

This is the first guest post by one of our newcomers who has been in the states less than one year. Through her efforts, leadership, and vision, our school was able to raise the equivalent of $7000 just by making pinwheels. (Part one has details here.)

Check out her thoughts on the project and learn how it impacted her. She ends with perfect advice!

Working hard every morning to create, count, and recruit others!
 Have you thought about what do you want to do for your future? What do you want to do after school??? .... You have the opportunity to think and make it possible!!! If you work so hard you can make real all the goals that you have in mind... but some kids in others countries do not have these opportunities at consequences of wars or poverty like is the case in Syria.

   These Syrian’s children have many dreams, they really want to became a professional person that can help their country to be better and more peaceful, no matter the bad situation that they are living, they want to make the change but at consequence of the war, some of these Syrian’s children were removed from their homes to refugees where the conditions are not the perfect ones for them.

   One day two great teachers, two great friends and me were searching someone who need our help, so Miss Wendi and Miss Jimenez found a challenge which espoused the conditions where many Syrians are living, well this page give to us what we were looking for. We decided to do the challenge and in the process we found more than just make pinwheels. We found a way of happiness that can not be compared with another one. The challenge consisted to make pinwheels and for each one that you make a organization will give two dollars. That will be used to bring education to these Syrian kids that are allowed in the refugees. We found some videos and things to read about kids in the Syrian’s refugees where they were told us what they what they want to become in the future. All of them were wishing to change their country to one in peace, for example there was a nice and little girl who want to have a pharmacy with the motivation to help the people with their diseases.

    With just to watch the videos of the Syrian kids made us increase our goals! For example we started with the idea to make 1000 pinwheels, then 2000, but finally we exceeded our goal at 3500 pinwheels with the help of many of JM students and teachers showing the great unity in the school. This challenge was really fun, in many days the pinwheels just appeared in the classroom and we never knew who brought them. But I can say that this challenge is one of the best things I have done and I’m thankful to God for bring to us the opportunity to help the kids in Syria.

   All the people who hear about war and terrorism think that all of the people from this country are horrible and they’re killers, but we should think different think that these kids did not pick where to be born and they aren’t bad people. We should meet or search more of their culture, and not just from Syria, also all of the countries that have bad reputation. It’s not right just to look at the bad things that they do.  “Don’t judge something that you do not know so much.”   

One person cannot do so much but all of us together can do something big and special!!

Don’t think two times when the opportunity to help someone is present,

do that now......

This is what 3500+ pinwheels look like!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Millionaire Teacher

Watching your students succeed after long hours of work can make a teacher feel like a millionaire. I experienced this fully as my students shared video stories about their journeys as immigrants/ language learners with teachers from UNC Charlotte. The teachers' responses made all the work and planning oh-so-worthwhile. There were tears, laughter, questions, photos shared, personal questions asked, conversations started, and mutual learning in spades. At the end of the day, students were so excited. They told me they wanted to do something like this again. They told me it was fun, and they enjoyed it. But, most heartening of all, they told me they didn't feel invisible anymore. #FeelingRich #Priceless

Friday, May 6, 2016

How Pinwheels Impact Education

Call it new math. 

If one pinwheel equates to $2, 
and every $2 is donated toward the education of Syrian refugee children in Lebanon and Iraq, 
how many "pinwheel makers" could 3 girls encourage to join the challenge?

How many pinwheels do you think there are?

Joy and relief at a challenge well-surpassed. 

Their initial goal was 1500 pinwheels, but they were determined
to encourage more folks to jump on board.

When all was said and done, the girls had collected 3534 pinwheels from
classmates, staff members, and family members! Those are two proud
teachers in the center and on the left. 
The International Rescue Committee and Healing Classrooms/ Students Rebuild will distribute some of the pinwheels to Healing Classrooms students in Lebanon and Iraq. Others will be used to create a commemorative display within some of the refugee schools. Donations generated by the Pinwheel Challenge will provide training for teachers "in special techniques to engage conflict-affected children with social-emotional learning opportunities and to create secure, nurturing learning environments."  

We are grateful to The Bezos Family Foundation for generously matching each pinwheel made during the Healing Classrooms Challenge with a $2 donation. This has been an incredible way to heighten consciousness of the Syrian crisis as well as the refugee crisis, and to 
prove that small actions can help 
create tremendous impact
 for both recipients and makers alike.   

Keep checking the Students Rebuild website for more challenges, and to view prior ones. They also include free educational resources to help you add depth and understanding to the experience. 

Stay tuned for a guest post next week from the girl who spearheaded this effort. She was the "ringleader of wonderful things". And thank you again to Students Rebuild, the IRC, and the Bezos Foundation, as well as all the students at JMHS! Go, Jets!