May 30, 2012

Look! I did something worthwhile for humanity.

I can't even lie and pretend that I'm involved as an Army wife.  I played that game once before, and I have no intention of playing it again anytime soon. (A full-time job is not only good for money.  It's a good excuse to get out of things.) 
 I will, however, have it be known that I was an FRG leader.  And, as that 24-year-old first-year Army wife FRG leader, I organized a highly successful beer mug fundraiser, a crazy-good bake sale, and a pig roast that involved gambling and kegs (a first for the brigade, if my memory is correct).  What can I say?  Beer and food?  I know how to please a crowd.

So back to my worthwhile thing for humanity..

A few months ago, my husband emailed me a list of items that he wanted sent to Afghanistan.  They weren't for him.  They were for some of the Afghan civilians he works with.  Jolly Ranchers, shoes for the kids, Hershey's candy, coloring books.  Stuff we can buy at Wal-Mart, but things they can't get so easily.

Off I went, shopping list in hand.  I packaged it all up, filled out the customs forms, and mailed out boxes stuffed to the brim.  Scott had said my students could draw pictures to send to the little kids that lived around the U.S. base there.  I told my students and they were thrilled.  They drew pictures of Alaska, the animals, the mountains, and so on.  (They wanted to be pen pals with the Afghan kids, but two different languages don't make for good pen pals.)  

This gave me an idea.  What if I had the kids donate things to send?  What if we ran a drive to collect toys, trinkets, and educational supplies that we could send overseas to these Afghan children who had so little??

I proposed the idea to our school secretary (who is, without a doubt, one of the sweetest people I've ever met) and then we cleared it with the principal.  Kids in my class really liked the idea and brought in gently used toys and school supplies.  I didn't make a huge deal about the collection drive, but items slowly trickled into that big box I had set on the windowsill.

One day, after choosing a container of Play-Doh from the prize box as a reward, a student put her prize in my hand.  I said, "What's this for?"  She said, "Put it in the box to send to Afghanistan".  I almost cried.  That child's parents did something right.

A parent volunteer's husband works for Michael's (the craft store), and he donated several boxes of older items that hadn't sold.  Crafty supplies, school supplies, decorations.  Just stuff.  Stuff that we take for granted that the civilians of Afghanistan can't get any old time they want.

So we had several boxes of toys and gifts to send to the children in Afghanistan.  I picked up the boxes and customs forms at the post office, but the Military Family Life Counselor at our school and that wonderful secretary did the bulk of the grunt work.  They packaged up the goods, mailed them, and Scott received them a week later. 
Some of the boxes in Afghanistan
Scott has given the toys to soldiers who check-up on civilians everyday.  Now, when soldiers are patrolling, they can hand a child a stuffed animal or coloring book.  It's not much, but the hope is that it makes the situation just a bit less frightening for the youngsters.   I've since gotten thank-you cards from female soldiers in charge of handing out the goodies.  They've been especially useful when dealing with mothers and small children because, for religious reasons, a lot of the women aren't allowed to associate with the male soldiers. 

Because this was technically my idea, that (once again) sweet secretary nominated me for an award given by the Wasilla City Chamber of Commerce.  It's for volunteering through the military.  So, a couple of weeks ago, I went to a fancy little lunch and got some flowers and a mug and lots of gift certificates and shook a lot of hands...


But it was a school day.  So I went back to school after the lunch.  And I continued to teach the 4th graders about World War II.  I cannot describe how much they have loved learning about World War II.  And I can't describe how much I've loved teaching them about World War II.  I like to think that I'm doing MY part to make them more aware of the world around us by teaching them their history.

All I know is that I will never forget Cassidy handing me that Play-Doh and telling me to send it to Afghanistan.

11 comments:

  1. that is so cool! what an awesome thing you did. it is crazy how those little things that we don't think about are such a treat for those kids. and what a sweet girl in your class too. love this post!

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  2. that is so cool! what an awesome thing you did. it is crazy how those little things that we don't think about are such a treat for those kids. and what a sweet girl in your class too. love this post!

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  3. What an awesome blog post to read about early in the morning here! Perfect way to start my day. It really is the "little things" that truly make the difference for many people.

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  4. What a great thing you did! I love moments where I realize that my kids "get it". I have a few students who don't have running water or electricity and we buy them clothes, food and hygeine supplies every year. This year, some of our older students took those girls shopping and out to lunch, just because they could. I was so, so proud! What an amazing feeling! You go, teacher!

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  5. You're a great woman. That's such an awesome thing you did!

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  6. You are amazing! And so is Cassidy! It's not even 8:30 and there are tears in my eyes (it's going to be a good day, faith in humanity restored!).

    A dear friend of mine is in Afghanistan now too, I'm going to propose this idea to his girlfriend and see if we can't get a little deal like this going too!

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  7. Omg, this & you are awesome! To think that it started out with your husband requesting a few little things...very cool.

    Congratulations on your award!

    The hubs & I have always wanted to send out care packages to the soldiers, do you know of anyone I can contact about that?

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  8. You are awesome! I love that it turned into something greater and how sweet of that little girl. It's amazing how stuff we wouldn't think twice about could be so valued somewhere else.

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  9. Beautiful, just beautiful. :)

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  10. Wow, that is amazing! Love the story about your student.

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  11. Look at you! You're so wonderful! Now I feel bad for calling you a hooker.
    You do-good-hooker.
    But seriously, that's awesome. And I'm really glad to see that your husband wanted to do something like that for the locals, because I know of a number of individuals who have no desire to associate with locals.

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