I am a part time tour guide for a company that specializes in educational tours. Every year I see hundreds of students and teacher coming to the province of Québec from the United States and English Canada; all these students are learning French as a second language! As an avid traveler myself, I understand how great it is to visit a country when you are learning a second, or a third, language. you are in their environment, you have to speak the language to be understood, you learn through interactions, it’s just plain great! I also know that educational trips are expensive and schoolboard are not always very enthusiastic about sending kids to foreign countries. There are ways to lower the financial burden put on parents through fundraising activities, there is also this neat little website called Donorchose.org. Now this website is only available for schools in the United States, the concept however is great and a Canadian equivalent should be developped, here’s why.
Say you are a teacher, you have a great idea for a project. However, you spent all your budget on photocopies and awesome posters for your classroom and can’t afford the project. Donorchoose.org gives you the chance to present your educational project online. Investors browsing the website can decide to financially support your project and act as a sponsor! You can propose all sorts of projects; buy new books, purchase school supplies, art material, field trips, renovations to the school, and what not. Charity Navigator, a website that ranks and evaluate charity programs gave an almost perfect score to Donor Chose, making it the single bestest educational charity program in the US in terms of transparency and actual efficiency. Since its creation in 2000, the website helped almost half of the United States’ public schools gather more than 52 million dollars for various projects (350 000 projects!).
Java John also mentions how great a website Donor Chose is. Amongst the positive comments given in the article, the feedback you get from students and teachers is particularly heart-warming. You really get to help a class do something great or just meet basic needs and they thank you for that through pictures, letters, videos and so on. Java John also states that a lot of projects are backed by the website or other charities. Meaning that if you make a 25$ donation, they will double it giving the school a total of 50$
As a future teacher, I really want to bring my students on field trips. I don’t know where I will end up but I hope that when if I can’t afford something, there will be a site like Donor Chose around to help me out. Now, to keep working, Donour Chose has to take a cut on the donation which can be weird. Java John mentions that maybe schools should start looking towards Kickstarter for financing, a solution which is available in Canada.