Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The BIG GIVE

Do you watch it? Gianna and I are ADDICTED to it. Let me say, right off, I wasn't going to. I was all set to jump on the who does Oprah think she is bandwagon and roll my eyes and NOT watch it. Then Gianna and I saw week 1. This show had us on the edge of our seat and ready to go out the next day and do anything to help someone. My favorite part of this "game show" is that, as the weeks have unfolded, more and more bystanders and recipients are already talking about paying it forward. I love how one simple act can act as a springboard for a series of acts that really can make a big difference. I have been trying to let this inspiration really change how I live my life.
Just two days ago, Shaye came home from school totally excited because the BOOK FAIR was coming to her school. Which is basically a publishing company sets up shop in the school gymnasium and peddles it wares to each class. Shaye had a list of 5 books from the "preview" stroll the kids were allowed to take and we could circle which ones we wanted her to purchase and send money in for her to buy them on her class's "shopping" day. Now, I have worked this book fair at my older daughter's school the last two years and let me tell you it breaks my heart to see children that you know will probably will never own a book, browsing through these books like they are treasures and other kids spending their "extra" money on $4 fancy pens. I couldn't imagine how tough it would be with 5 and 6 year olds. Due to staff logistics- ALL children must go to the book fair, whether they have money or not. Shaye has a small class- only 18 kids. So I offered her teacher "book certificates" - 1 book for each child who didn't have money to spend. Let me tell you the excitement in the classroom when she presented this "book money" to the kids. (I was just there to help at the book fair as far as they knew.) They chose books about sharks and princesses and dinosaurs. It cost just $31.92 to give eight children a book of their own. Better than that? Two parents working the book fair were blown away by the idea and offered it to their children's classrooms and one father wants to challenge the PTO to set up a school-wide(K-2) opportunity next year where parents can purchase "book money" to be handed out, so that every child can purchase at least one book. To be a part of something so wonderful- what a feeling!

8 comments:

mamabear said...

We love that show too!
After watching the show for a few weeks, I prayed that God would help me to find someone or something that I can do a good deed or help or something. That afternoon two teenage boys had a flat tire in their car directly in front of my house. I was able to be of some assistance to them, then when they were all finished I offered them a couple of cans of soda.
It felt good to be able to help some people that needed help.

I absolutely LOVE what you did for the book fair. What a great idea! Every child deserves to have a book to call their very own, and I'm so proud of you for being able to be a part of that. Great job!

~dawn

gina said...

dawn- I love that you helped them. In this day and age -most people just ignore people on the side of the road.

That inspires me to challenge myself to find something helpful to do without spending any money. That's trickier I think, because it takes something more of yourself.

elexisb said...

That is so great! I'd love giving those little mushes who couldn't get one a book too.

The cynical me can't help but think that once some parents knew about the fund for books for kids whose parents couldn't give them $$, they'd take advantage and say they couldn't afford it.

Is that awful of me? Am I too pessimistic about humanity? Do you think that would happen?

gina said...

elexisb- The thought crossed my mind for like a second too. But the fact is- I live in a town right now where 40% of the children qualify for free lunch(as oppossed to 2% in my last town). Out of the other 60%-probably a good 90% are two income families who are basically getting by. Like if they were out of work for just a few weeks, they're lives would be in shambles. Yet, those who do have a few extra dollars, give. And if there is a week they don't have money they volunteer their time. We found out about this book fair on Monday and the kids could shop on Wedsnesday. For a lot of families- they simply don't have the extra money without having known about it at the last paycheck. At the middle school(where they advertise a few weeks in advance)- the numbers are lower- probably 7 kids out of classes of 25-30 don't have money and they TRULY just can't afford it.
So I think if we combine "book money" with earlier advertising, theose who need, will get. If one or two use the system- I would say that is the risk we take because the joy on these kids faces was so worth it.

Two Princess Girls said...

You have brought a tear to my eye. Gina, you're awesome :)

Linda @ My Trendy Tykes said...

Awww, what a great thing to do Gina!

I used to love the bookfair when I was little.

Linda

CMB said...

That is awesome! Great job Gina. YOu are truly a wonderful person. Just think of how happy you made those children. What a great feeling - I am sure.

Jules said...

Wow! What a cool thing you did! I would never have thought to do that. Sometimes I am a bit bitter over our own money issues and then I think other people should just pull themselves up by the bootstraps like we have had to do. Not a very kindhearted or generous attitude, I know.

I love how the other parents jumped on the idea. Look at what you've started girlfriend! ;)

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