It has been a busy and productive week, writing-wise. I’ve had a poem accepted for 2012 publication. I had a wonderful time chatting on the phone about the stories in Quiet Americans with a group from a Chicagoland congregation. Meanwhile, Quiet Americans received a lovely review on the Books, Personally blog (and I was interviewed, too). A book that I’ve been looking forward to reviewing for JewishJournal.com arrived in the mail. And I’ve been cooking up a project with some of the Fiction Writers Review editors. Best of all, I’ve been managing to get some writing done early every morning.
I’m grateful for all of these developments. But today, I don’t want to dwell on them. Instead, in this post, I want to tell you about a significant purchase I made a few days ago.
You see, last week, my sister made a donation to a project at DonorsChoose.org. If you’re not familiar with the organization, here is how it describes itself:
DonorsChoose.org is an online charity that makes it easy for anyone to help students in need.
Here’s how it works: public school teachers from every corner of America post classroom project requests on DonorsChoose.org. Requests range from pencils for a poetry writing unit, to violins for a school recital, to microscope slides for a biology class.
Then, you can browse project requests and give any amount to the one that inspires you. Once a project reaches its funding goal, we deliver the materials to the school.
The donation my sister made in my honor assists a writing-intensive project in a New York City classroom. But I was at least equally drawn to a project she supported in our parents’ honor.
In part, I was drawn to that second project because it is sited at a school in our own former neighborhood in Brooklyn. In part, I was drawn to it because it addresses the educational needs of children with special needs who seem to be facing some of the same challenges that my nephew is dealing with (and the children in that classroom are about his age, too). And in part, something hit me in the heart when I realized that what the teacher wanted for her students–a single laptop–cost a fraction of what I spent on my own computer upgrade last summer.
So I offered a (small) contribution of my own.
The teacher’s thank-you note overwhelmed me. At that point, three months after the teacher had posted the project and it had received approval from DonorsChoose.org, my sister and I were the only ones to have contributed to its funding at all. The project was still about 80 percent unfunded. But in her acknowledgment, the teacher wrote about how excited the children would be to know that they were a step closer to acquiring the laptop.
I worried that it would never happen. So over the weekend, I went ahead and funded the whole project. In other words, I bought a computer this week. It’s not for me. But it’s one of the best purchases I’ve ever made.