Friday, October 12, 2007

THE CHALLENGE

I'd like to give a hearty WELCOME to the new visitors of BlackGivesBack (BGB)!

This blog is dedicated to philanthropy in the African American community. Philanthropy is defined as the act of donating money, goods, time, or effort to support charitable causes. Contrary to what some may know, black giving has a long and rich history. It has helped to establish churches and institutions in the black community. For example, Wilberforce University was the first black university founded by African Americans in 1775.

BGB's goal is to highlight those who are giving back to the black community. Celebrities and athletes charitable efforts are featured, as well as everyday heroes who are making a difference in their communities. Two organizations previously featured as everyday heroes are The STARS Program from Georgia and Where There's A Need based in New York, with many more to follow.

It is my hope that by reading this blog, it will inspire you to make a difference. Our black children need our time, talent and treasure.

I recently read a Washington Post article titled, Whatever Happened to the Class of 2005? The authors of the article surveyed students from Washington, D.C.'s Cardozo High School to find out how they fared since leaving school. One student, Danielle, excelled in school, successfully balancing schoolwork and extracurricular activities. She graduated high school and enrolled at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Upon entrance, she did so poorly on the English and math placement exams that she had to be placed in remedial courses.

Danielle said that her high school math teacher, who instead of assigning algebra homework, would have students clip photos of motorcycles from magazines and do other projects unrelated to math. "I thought it was strange and weird," Danielle said, but she did not complain because the class was "an easy A." She also says that English was her best subject in high school, but she soon realized that she was weak in grammar. "We were learning about [sentence] fragments, compounds and pronouns at Eastern Shore. We didn't learn that at Cardozo."

She quickly found out that high school had not prepared her for college. Low grades placed Danielle on academic probation, ultimately being forced to withdraw in her sophomore year.

We want our youth to graduate from high school, but what good is it when school is not adequately preparing them for college? For trade school? For the world of work?

Teachers in urban public school systems across the country are forced to teach with limited resources in broken down buildings. No wonder our children are dropping out.

So I'm issuing a challenge to all my BGB readers and fellow bloggers:

THE BLACKGIVESBACK CHALLENGE

How would you like to help a teacher in the urban public school system? I have set up a challenge at DonorsChoose.org with a project that needs to be funded. DonorsChoose.org is a simple way to provide students in need with resources that our public schools often lack. At this not-for-profit web site, teachers submit project proposals for materials or experiences their students need to learn.

A 9th grade English teacher at Anacostia High School in Washington, D.C. would like to incorporate technology into the classroom and have students work on art projects and presentations based on in-class discussions and group work for two Fridays each month. Students will have the chance to work on their blogs and audio files. The teacher is hoping that these Friday Funday activities will give students a break from the daily grind, while still ensuring the advancement of their education (and keep them engaged in schoolwork!).

For those of you who are not familiar with D.C., Anacostia High School is located in Ward 8 (southeast) which is a high poverty, low-income area.

The total cost needed to fund this project is $426.00. The teacher says: "I'm looking forward to providing my students with various outlets to share their interests and opinions surrounding their work completed in class; I also look forward to allowing them the opportunity to unwind by playing games that work to develop their vocabulary and expand their minds!"

Please consider donating any amount you can! If just 25 people donate $15 to $20, we can fully fund this project! Click on the link to the right for more information.
UPDATE (10/12): This project has been fully funded! Yeah for the kids! Thank you to the donor!