Ugh! Please Don’t Make Me Do Math! or Shameless Begging for Your Support

July 3rd, 2012

I’m starting a new job this fall. I’m moving up from the world of kindergarten to the big leagues of second grade. I have taught second grade for exactly one day. I was a substitute, and if I remember correctly, I think it was only half a day. Whatever. Second grade is going to be awesome. I have a general idea of what second-graders can do, but I have no idea what my specific class can handle. This is a rare summer. I’d like to be done with vacation and back in the classroom, just to see what they can do.

When I met with the building principal she mentioned that math was an area the school struggles in….there is additional support for the reading program but not for math (yet).

Here’s where the begging begins. I have set up a donors choose project. I’m hoping to get piles of math manipulatives, math puzzles, math activities to work on when other work is completed, math games, and anything else that can be used to supplement the math program when it is not specifically math time. I set up math in stations that teach the same concept in various ways so everyone can pick the way that works best for them. So, everyone has to learn subtraction. Everyone gets to pick from the following stations….hula hoops and bean bags (to subtract the number of bags in the hoop from the number out of the hoop), number lines large enough to hop on, number bond cards, puzzles with math facts, manipulatives to show the work visually, worksheets for those who need the paper and pencil approach, dry erase boards to quiz themselves with….everyone picks the style that fits them the best. But in order to do that, I need stuff….lots of stuff.

So, here’s my project:

If you click on the link, there are two ways you can help…

1. Consider donating. Everyone who donates gets a personal thank you note from my class.

2. Consider repostng. Anywhere. Everywhere. Facebook, blogs, Twitter. I figure the more people who see it, the better the chance I have on getting the whole thing funded.

A Hungry Child Can’t Wait: Ask 5 for 5

September 20th, 2011

Guest Blogger: Sarah Lenssen from #Ask5for5
Family photos by Mike Fiechtner Photography

Thank you finally. and nearly 150 other bloggers from around the world for allowing me to share a story with you today, during Social Media Week.

A hungry child in East Africa can’t wait. Her hunger consumes her while we decide if we’ll respond and save her life. In Somalia, children are stumbling along for days, even weeks, on dangerous roads and with empty stomachs in search of food and water. Their crops failed for the third year in a row. All their animals died. They lost everything. Thousands are dying along the road before they find help in refugee camps. 

At my house, when my three children are hungry, they wait minutes for food, maybe an hour if dinner is approaching. Children affected by the food crisis in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia aren’t so lucky. Did you know that the worst drought in 60 years is ravaging whole countries right now, as you read this? Famine, a term not used lightly, has been declared in Somalia. This is the world’s first famine in 20 years.12.4 million people are in need of emergency assistance and over 29,000 children have died in the last three months alone. A child is dying every 5 minutes. It it estimated that 750,000 people could die before this famine is over. Take a moment and let that settle in.

The media plays a major role in disasters. They have the power to draw the attention of society to respond–or not. Unfortunately, this horrific disaster has become merely a footnote in most national media outlets. News of the U.S. national debt squabble and the latest celebrity’s baby bump dominate headlines. That is why I am thrilled that nearly 150 bloggers from all over the world are joining together today to use the power of social media to make their own headlines; to share the urgent need of the almost forgotten with their blog readers. Humans have the capacity to care deeply for those who are suffering, but in a situation like this when the numbers are too huge to grasp and the people so far away, we often feel like the little we can do will be a drop in the ocean, and don’t do anything at all.

When news of the famine first hit the news in late July, I selfishly avoided it. I didn’t want to read about it or hear about it because I knew I would feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable. I wanted to protect myself. I knew I would need to do something if I knew what was really happening. You see, this food crisis is personal. I have a 4-year-old son and a 1 yr-old daughter who were adopted from Ethiopia and born in regions now affected by the drought. If my children still lived in their home villages, they would be two of the 12.4 million. My children: extremely hungry and malnourished? Gulp. I think any one of us would do anything we could for our hungry child. But would you do something for another mother’s hungry child?

My friend and World Vision staffer, Jon Warren, was recently in Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya–the largest refugee camp in the world with over 400,000 people. He told me the story of Isnino Siyat, 22, a mother who walked for 10 days and nights with her husband, 1 yr-old-baby, Suleiman, and 4 yr.-old son Adan Hussein, fleeing the drought in Somalia. When she arrived at Dadaab, she built the family a shelter with borrowed materials while carrying her baby on her back. Even her dress is borrowed. As she sat in the shelter on her second night in camp she told Jon, “I left because of hunger. It is a very horrible drought which finished both our livestock and our farm.” The family lost their 5 cows and 10 goats one by one over 3 months, as grazing lands dried up. “We don’t have enough food now…our food is finished. I am really worried about the future of my children and myself if the situation continues.”

Will you help a child like Baby Suleiman? Ask5for5 is a dream built upon the belief that you will.

That something I knew I would need to do became a campaign called #Ask5for5 to raise awareness and funds for famine and drought victims. The concept is simple, give $5 and ask five of your friends to give $5, and then they each ask five of their friends to give $5 and so on–in nine generations of 5x5x5…we could raise $2.4 Million! In one month, over 750 people have donated over $25,000! I set up a fundraiser at See Your Impact and 100% of the funds will go to World Vision, an organization that has been fighting hunger in the Horn of Africa for decades and will continue long after this famine has ended. Donations can multiply up to 5 times in impact by government grants to
help provide emergency food, clean water, agricultural support,
healthcare, and other vital assistance to children and families suffering in the Horn.

I need you to help me save lives. It’s so so simple; here’s what you need to do:

  1. Donate $5 or more on this page (
  2. Send an email to your friends and ask them to join us.
  3. Share #Ask5for5 on Facebook and Twitter!

I’m looking for another 100 bloggers to share this post on their blogs throughout Social Media Week. Email me at if you’re interested in participating this week.

A hungry child doesn’t wait. She doesn’t wait for us to finish the other things on our to-do list, or get to it next month when we might have a little more money to give. She doesn’t wait for us to decide if she’s important enough to deserve a response. She will only wait as long as her weakened little body will hold on…please respond now and help save her life. Ask 5 for 5.

Thank you on behalf of all of those who will be helped–you are saving lives and changing history.

p.s. Please don’t move on to the next website before you donate and email your friends right now. It only takes 5 minutes and just $5, and if you’re life is busy like mine, you probably won’t get back to it later. Let’s not be a generation that ignores hundreds of thousands of starving people, instead let’s leave a legacy of compassion. You have the opportunity to save a life today!

When Words Will Not Come

July 22nd, 2011

Drought in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and other parts of Eastern Africa

Famine declared in Somalia.

Read this post. I could not say it better then Rebekah does.

Sign the petition being sent out by ONE.

Support Doctors Without Borders.

Support Our Families.

(via Cindy Burt)

Win a Paper-Bead Necklace

April 11th, 2011

Check out the Awaka Children’s Foundation blog for a chance to win a cool paper-bead necklace from Uganda.

From their website:

Kamengo is located in the south of Uganda, 45kms from Kampala, depending on traffic it takes 1 hour and 30 minutes to drive.

Kamengo is a big county having over 80 villages. The population of Kamengo-Ffunvu village is about 1000 people: children below the age of 7 years taking the greatest percentage, followed by women and men last. Kamengo has a good number of elderly poverty stricken people with medical needs, as well as many children with special needs: many with hearing and eye impairments due to a dirty water source.

Malnourishment runs rampant in the village due to the high poverty and lack of access to jobs. Awaka hopes to be able to provide a weekly nutritious hot meal to the residents of Kamengo-Ffunvu with help of regular donors. We also hope to provide the residents the means to gain skills to produce products that can be sold at markets to allow for self-sustainability, as well as seeds for farming.

Don’t Forget. World Water Day.

March 21st, 2011

Don’t forget.

Tuesday is World Water Day.

$20 from 10 of you. That’s it.

typeTAP: Water Revolution from The Adventure Project on Vimeo.

World AIDS Day and Project Hopeful

December 1st, 2010


December 1st is World AIDS Day.

It’s time for the world to start understanding what HIV is and what it isn’t.

What it is: a chronic but completely controllable disease that is impossible to get through casual contact.

What it isn’t: Something to be feared.

Children who test positive for HIV live long, normal lives with the help of ARV drugs.

It’s time for people to let go of the social stigma of HIV. Many of the facts people believe about it are outdated and from 1982.

Do you remember the 80′s? Crimped hair, mullets, layered socks worn with high-heels, stone-washed jeans and all things bedazzeled.

We’ve improved on everything from the 80′s except our facts on HIV/AIDS.

Check out this video for Project Hopeful. A good place to start if you’d like to know the truth about a not so scary disease.

#19 Water for Christmas

November 19th, 2010

The gift giving season is here.

A $20 gift of water can save a person’s life.

This year, the Water4Christmas etsy shop is looking for crafty type people to stock it’s shelves.

If you can knit, sew, crochet, bead, paint, sculpt, etc, etc, etc, and you’d like to donate your work, go here for the details.

Last year, charity:water was able to build two wells with the $10000 raised from store.

I made these:

What can you make?

#13 To Write Love On Her Arms

November 13th, 2010

Writing Love on Our Arms

Love in English, French, Amharic, Italian and Spanish.

Yesterday (and through the weekend) people are writing LOVE on their arms. Kevin wrote about it here. Thousands of people write love on their arms to support those who struggle with depression, suicide, self-injury and addiction.
There is an amazing photo gallery here.
Tonight, when I tried to wash Milo’s arms in the bathtub, there was much protesting, “No NO! My LOVE!”
I guess it’s there until it wears off.

Christmas Shopping and Helping a Family at the same time

October 25th, 2010

My friend is hosting an online silent auction to raise money to bring her son JohnMark home from Ghana.

It’s a pretty amazing story. I’ll give you the short version but go get a box of tissues and read her story here.

The short version is this: about 2 years ago, they adopted two older girls from Ghana. They knew the girls had a baby brother but he was not in need of a family at the moment. While visiting an orphanage in Ghana, guess who they met? Yep, BabyBoy. So, after much paperwork, waiting and red tape, they are bringing home their daughters’ biological brother.

Now, they are trying to cover a few costs. They are auctioning off quite a bit of cool stuff, a lot of it hand made in Ghana – including raw shea butter. If you’ve never used this stuff, you are missing out.

Here’s the deal – the items can be shipped to you at your expense or they can be picked up the night of the auction if you win. But I’ll throw out this offer – if you are from out of state and win an item, I will pick it up and ship it to you at no cost – just to say thanks for helping out a family.

Happy Christmas Shopping. Ready? Go.

Love Is Not a Color

May 19th, 2010

Recently there was a give-away at Love Is Not a Color for a great shirt. Stacie won a shirt but already had a shirt, so she’s giving her winnings away. If you want a chance to win just repost the video and leave a comment on her blog.