It started with a tweet. Along with the amusing, geeky, intelligent, and snarky people I follow on Twitter, I also search out people who want to make a positive difference in the world. I’m unable to find the exact tweet, but it might have come from Carolyn Miles (@carolynsave), CEO of Save the Children.
Students Rebuild challenges students to make a difference in the world. For each challenge, they ask students to learn about an issue, make something symbolic, and send it to them. A donor or foundation pledges money for each item sent. The funds and items together make the difference in both communities. Currently they are running a Literacy Challenge. For each bookmark a student makes and mails in, the Bezos Family Foundation gives $1 to Save the Children’s Literacy Boost program in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
At the same time, I was leading the Girl Scout troop through a journey program called Mission:Sisterhood, and I needed an activity for the next meeting. My craft supplies yielded spools of ribbon, paper punches, and a handful of Sharpies. A trip to the dollar store resulted in lined cardstock strips meant for teachers to use with beginning readers. Cutting them in half made a perfect bookmark size – 60 bookmarks for $1. At the troop meeting, I dropped the supplies on the table and the girls crafted and chattered while I explained the challenge and the importance of literacy.
In February, the Girl Scouts celebrate World Thinking Day, and the troop volunteers to run a station at our service unit’s event. The theme was “Dance Around the World”, and they split that theme right down the middle. Some of the troop taught moves from their dance class on one side of the auditorium. The others gathered the younger scouts around a table and led them in a bookmark making station, explaining why we were doing it.
By the end of the day, the seven girls in the troop talked about literacy with around 175 younger scouts and made over 300 bookmarks! They were surprised when I told them the final count.
The story is not over – I posted our thanks to the service unit’s email list and encouraged other troops to continue the work. We’ll mail any additional bookmarks they make at their own troop meetings before the end of March.
I’m looking forward to hearing what their next challenge will be!