“A penny can make a difference” was the motto for sixty-five students in the Fairfax County School Age Child Care (SACC) after school program at Shrevewood Elementary School in Falls Church, Virginia. The children, ages six to eleven, raised $200 through grassroots fundraising efforts and secured a $200 matching grant from a corporate sponsor, to plant 400 fruit tree saplings in a High Atlas Foundation tree nursery.
Using HAF’s newly launched Teacher Toolkit as a springboard, for one month, the students learned about Morocco’s culture, history, and geography, and connected their newfound knowledge to the more global concepts of volunteerism and environmental awareness. In fact, the overarching theme for the after school program during the 2008-2009 school year focused on volunteerism and giving back to communities in need – whether they be local, national, or international.
With the belief that everyone should have the opportunity to help make a difference, the students focused on collecting only pennies, and totaled an impressive $90 worth by the end of the project (that is 9,000 pennies!). They also held a bake sale at their school that generated an additional $90 in funds.
On Earth Day, April 22nd, they planted a tree on their school grounds – a “sister tree” fruit tree for the ones that will be planted in Morocco later this fall when the planting season begins.
We are incredibly proud of the success of this pilot program, and hope it inspires other educators to use HAF’s Teacher Toolkit in their classrooms. A penny can make a difference, and 40,000 pennies can make a difference for eight Moroccan families whose household incomes will at least double when they sell fruit from their new trees at the local markets – thank you!
A special thank you to all the children and teachers in the SACC after school program at Shrevewood Elementary School, particularly Tori Brent, and to Resource Council member, Tina Khartami, whose leadership helped to make this pilot program a resounding success.