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I have been an elementary and secondary school teacher and administrator. Currently, I am a faculty member in the Faculty of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. My M.Ed. and Ph.D. had a focus on the educational and linguistic experiences of children who moved from other countries to Canada.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Buddy, can you spare a dime?

Last night, I read the inspiring story of Esaue Joachim (click on his name to read the story).  He was trapped in his school in last year's earthquake in Haiti.  He was eventually rescued and then had a leg amputated.  He has since become involved with an organization for the handicapped.

I read his story at 10 pm last night, just 10 hours before teaching a course on special education (physical disabilities was to be one of the topics) the next day.  I started to wonder if his story would "end" when I went to sleep and that there would be no long-term impact on my life.  After a few minutes of thought, I decided to see if my students in  the Faculty of Education would be moved by his story and an idea I had...

Today, I shared the story with them and then said that for the next 5 weeks (before they leave for teaching practicum) I would have a container in which they could put a dime.  I figured that if every student and faculty (about 150) would put a dime in the container for each of the next five weeks, we would have $75 to provide to the organization Esaue had found help in.  I told the students that I didn't want anything bigger than dimes - in other words, I didn't want them to feel the "pinch" by giving money.  I want to demonstrate that something so insignificant as a dime can add up to make a significant difference.  What could $75 do in Haiti?

It could put a child in school for a term... it could feed a family for three months ... it could provide a source of incomce (chicken, goat, small stocked fish pond) for a family .... it could provide a micro-credit loan to someone disabled in the earthquake.

So, the container was put out and I expected just a few dimes to show up today.  I was thrilled when the students took it upon themselves to pass the container around ... by the time I picked it up at the end of the class, it was full!

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