Saturday, February 1, 2014

We Are "In This Together".....Making A Difference With Our Rainbow Loom Research Project In Mangalore, India

In my last post Our Rainbow Loom Research Project Is Going Global and Bringing A Whole Lot Of Happy With It, I told how our students have decided how they are going to make a difference with their Rainbow Loom Research Project. 
When having a conversation last week about one of the big questions within this PBL project, the students decided they were going to create Rainbow Loom Bracelets for a school in Africa or another country where they could connect to send their bracelets.  

They want to bring color and happy to other young people who truly need friendship and hope. 

They want their research, work, learning, and creativity to make a difference outside of the four walls. 
Our third graders and the kids at Erin and Rachel's schools will all be collecting bracelets and other Rainbow Loom creations.

I am very excited about how this will impact our young people.....and how it will bring something wonderful to so many.
I have been sharing about our project a lot the last two weeks.....on my blog, Twitter, and Facebook. It has been exciting to hear from other teachers, students, and friends that want to get involved with the project too.

On Thursday morning I had something very special happen.

I had a call scheduled with Saira Rao, one of the founders of In This Together Media.  My dear friend Michelle Luhtala introduced me to Saira last week.  
I couldn't wait to hear all about the company that Saira and her friend Carey created together to bring books about real girls and racial diversity to our young people.

As the In This Together Media states,

In This Together Media publishes great books about real girls. Our characters are bold, funny, and fearless. The only thing sacred here is the story. When you pick up an In This Together book, you're going on an adventure. Our stories aren't ones you've read before — they come from new perspectives, take on established ideas and turn them inside out. We embrace the journey and the awe-inspiring women and girls in the pages of our books will educate, inspire, and enthrall. 
Before Saira started telling me all about her publishing company, she asked about the Rainbow Loom project.  She was just as excited as I was about bringing it to young people and wanted to know if her kindergartener could get involved too.  We were very excited to make this connection and started talking about what projects like this mean to our children.

I told Saira about the conversations we were having in the library that we are going to bring in the world and make a difference.  She loved that idea and we were having so much fun brainstorming together.
Then Saira had an idea.  She told me about her aunt Mary "Baj" Viegas, who lives and teachers in an convent in Mangalore, India.  Mangalore is a city on the west coast of India by the Arabian Sea. Perhaps we could connect with the students at her school.  I just loved the idea and couldn't wait until Saira spoke with her. 

That evening, Saira called her aunt to talk about our project.  She then wrote me,

"So this is what my aunt said, and I quote: 'There are so many very poor children here.  However many bracelets you send--20, 40, 100--I will get them to the kids and they will love it." 

When I read her email, it brought tears to my eyes.  With our project, we would be bringing so much to these children who needed something special in their lives. 

And just think what this experience will bring to our children too.  
Our third graders were so excited to hear about the children in India.  They wanted to send things to them right away and started asking all kinds of questions.  
They also made the connection of adding new questions to the "Wonder" stage in the research process. It was fun seeing them go get their packets to write new questions about Mangalore and Nirmala Convent.  I will show them more maps and photographs on Monday too....this will really get them wondering and investigating.  
I am also going to speak to my friend Mark Flynn this week about sending Rainbow Loom creations to the children he works with in Africa.  The little ones there will love these beautiful creations too.  

I am thankful for so many things in my life.  My children, husband, family, and friends bring me so much happy and comfort.

Then there are the young people I work with everyday....and the teachers and community.  We are blessed and have so much to bring to others and ourselves.  

I am thankful for special days, like last Thursday, when you meet these amazing people who make a difference in your life and those around you.   

Thank you Saira.....Together we are going to make a difference in the lives of the children your aunt work with in India, the students we know in Colorado and Iowa, and in the lives of our very own little people.  

And just like your company states....

We are in this together.  This is just the beginning of something great!

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