Monday, February 16, 2009

Thoughtful Education

There are times when we may feel that the whole world has landed in a hand-basket and it's headed . . . south. The darkest of those times also may make us feel that we're powerless to do anything about it. Of course, that's wrong.

Margaret Mead said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Those of you who read this blog are part of that thoughtful group, a group which has gathered a sizable number of members over the years and continues to grow as we learn more about sustainable living.

For most of us, the first step we take as members of this group is unloading all the excess stuff we've acquired that we now realize we don't need. Recently there was an article in Real Simple online that provided a number of basic suggestions for places to donate used goods; it's worth a look in case you're not familiar with a few of the charities mentioned. I'm working on my own 365 Item Toss uncluttering challenge, so about once a week things get hauled away to be donated or trashed.

But sometimes cash is king, as they say on Wall Street (fewer people are left there to say much of anything now). And sometimes very little cash is all that's required to get very important things accomplished.

I'm particularly concerned about the horrible state of our school systems. Here in California, the situation is positively dire, but I know there are schools throughout our country that are insufficiently staffed and have few or no resources for students. This is ridiculous, in my mind. But in addition to us voting out the people who put such a low priority on education, there are many charities that give us an opportunity to help teachers and kids directly with small donations. Here are just a few:

Donors Choose

RAFT - Resource Area for Teaching

Adopt A Classroom

If you want to reach out internationally, investigate these charities:

One Laptop Per Child

The National Christina Foundation

Please click on these links to see what wonderful work these groups are doing. There are many other worthwhile organizations devoted to education, some undoubtedly in your local area.

We need well-educated children who will grow up understanding how to keep their life priorities straight, how to live in a global society, how to think creatively, how to be thoughtful consumers.

Then, in the future, maybe the world won't have to take another ride in the ol' hand-basket.

© 2009 Cynthia Friedlob