Save the Day

April 16, 2011

The film [Waiting for Superman] generally posits that everyone in this country’s public-school system is waiting—waiting for the teachers’ union to figure itself out, waiting for charter-school lottery results, waiting for budget figures that inevitably shrink. Waiting to get rescued.

Wait over, super-friends.

No, Superman isn’t coming. He isn’t coming because he’s already here. The superhero we need here is you. The red planet that invested you with great powers here on Earth is…you.

Maybe you don’t have X-ray vision and you can’t lift a car with one hand. You don’t need to. You just need a few bucks, and a few friends with a few bucks. You just need to let students and teachers know that somebody’s coming to rescue them, that they shouldn’t give up.
— Sarah Bunting, TomatoNation.com

So. I’m shaking the cyber-dust off my blog to invite you to be a part of something awesome: the annual Tomato Nation contest for DonorsChoose.org.

Sarah, the writer of Tomato Nation, explains it best:

In a nutshell, DonorsChoose.org is an organization that puts donors together directly with projects in public schools. Teachers whose classrooms lack supplies and funding post their projects to the DC website; donors choose (see?) which one, or ones, to contribute to, and can contribute as much or as little as they like. So, if you want to make sure kids get to read Animal Farm, you can give $10 (or $100, or $1000) to an Orwell project; if you’d rather focus on a school from your hometown, or where a friend of yours teaches, you can do that too.

The projects posted at DonorsChoose cover almost every topic you can think of. For instance, one teacher is requesting a digital camera to document one of her students’ projects. Another teacher is building an orchestra program from the ground up. Other requests are for much more basic items, such as a classroom pencil sharpener or a supply of copy paper.

I know a lot of people, especially teachers, are probably going to read this and think about how unfair it is that there’s even a need for this. And they’re right. In a perfect world, DonorsChoose wouldn’t have to exist.

But I like to focus instead on WHY we do this. Again, Sars says it much better than I can:

Hope is what you give these kids, these teachers and schools. It’s not about the crayons or the turtles or the overhead projectors; they need those things, but mostly they need to know people give a damn. At least a little suck into every life must fall, but the worst part of any suck is thinking that no one cares, that you’ll have to live with it on your own.  One of the sweetest phrases in English, after “I love you” and “open bar,” is “damn, that does suck,” coupled with a pat on the shoulder.  It lets you keep going.

That’s why I get so excited about this proejct every year; why I always say it’s awesome. It’s a feeling like no other. Find a project that gets you excited, and send in $20. Or $10. Or the spare change you found under the couch. Even a little bit makes a huge difference.

This year, the TN readers have been able to set up their own pages. So I’ve highlighted several projects here. A list of all the giving pages participating is here, on Tomato Nation’s leaderboard.

If you can’t make a donation, you can still help—spread the word! Please! Share this on Facebook. Tweet it and re-tweet it. Tell your friends, family, teachers, co-workers, and people you pass in the street. The goal is $250,000 by April 30. Let’s save the day.

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Just One More Time

March 15, 2010

The more I come to know you, the less I understand
The depth of your mercy
The power of your hand
The more I come to know you, the more I realize
I don’t know how I ever lived without you in my life

Waking up to find I’m falling down
Is there a way for me to turn around

Do you see me falling? Do you hear me calling?
I can’t make it on my own
Do you see me reaching? Do you hear me weeping?
as I’m trying to find my way

I want to know you, I want to follow you
I’ll lay my life back down
Back down before you
Just one more time

The more I come to know you, the less I understand
How it is you’ll take me back
Time and time and time again
I don’t know how I fell so far, and there’s nothing left I can do
but hold on to your promise that I’m never far from you

Waking up to find I’ve fallen down again
Is there a way for me to turn around

Do you see me falling? Do you hear me calling?
I can’t make it on my own
Do you see me reaching? Do you hear me weeping?
as I’m trying to find my way

I want to know you, I want to follow you
I’ll lay my life back down
Back down before you
Just one more time

Search my heart, cleanse my soul
Scour me clean and let me know
That you’ll never let me go
Just one more time

I want to know you, I want to follow you
Help me to lay my life back down
Back down before you
Just one more time

Life Is What Happens While You’re Making Other Plans

February 16, 2010

This one came to me quite a while ago, during a very long day at the office…

I wonder who I used to be?
I know it wasn’t this
My father always taught me
‘always follow your bliss’
but mine doesn’t pay the mortgage
and so I’m cursed always to wile
my life away from nine to five
at nothing that’s worthwhile
Just filling up the hours
and thinking of what once could be
I’m enchained now to my paycheck
never to break free
I used to know how passion felt
a rampant fire deep within
Now my soul begins softly weeping
for the cage it’s been placed in
all that’s left is ash and ember
and a smoke-filled question on the wind:
I wonder who I was supposed to be?
I know it wasn’t this

Starting Again

February 9, 2010

I used to want to be a writer.

I used to write. All the time. It was my identity. No matter what else I was doing, I always had some story in mind. A blank page was always an opportunity.

But something changed along the way. “Real” life interfered, I suppose. My days became filled with other pursuits. Block set in. Blank pages started to stare accusingly at me while I searched for the words to fill them. So I gradually let go of writing. And then I sold my soul to the demon Practicality, and started pursing an accounting degree.

The stories never left me, though. I just need a way to get past the blank page. I need an impetus to write; I’m hoping this page can provide it, though this is the sort of project I usually leap into with boundless enthusiasm for a few weeks, then abandon to gather cyber-dust forevermore. I’m going to *try* not to let that happen here.


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