Iowa elementary school students are paying it forward with Heifer International
Inspired by the book "Pay It Forward - Youth Edition", the 2015 5th and 6th Grade WIN Literacy Class is raising funds through bake sales, garage sales, donation baskets, and a go-fund-me page.
Funds raised will support Heifer International's work to end hunger and poverty by providing livestock and environmentally sound agricultural training to communities in the United States and more than 30 foreign countries.
Assisted by teachers Jeannie Krambeer and Julie Frieden, the Valley Elementary students graciously share the following reflections:
How the book inspired the service learning activity:
"Even though the book is fiction, we thought it was so cool that Trevor wanted to “Pay it Forward” to different people in need. So we decided to put the idea into action." - Student
"We read the book as part of an extension project for some of our 5th and 6th grade students. As a teacher, you go into the project hoping the students really delve deep into the book and get the bigger picture. These students have taken it to a whole new level with their development of and excitement for this project." - Teacher
How the partnership with Heifer International came about:
"We got the idea from a member of our group. He did this with his church and thought it would be a cool idea. He received photos from the family and they were happy about getting animals." - Student
"We are a rural community with deep roots in agriculture. We respect the power and importance of the family farm and wanted to share that possibility with others." - Teacher
How the educators are facilitating this service learning activity:
"The students have divided themselves into different groups planning the garage sale, bake sale, donation drive, GoFundMe site, public relations, etc. Our job as teachers is to keep them focused and offer guidance in making sure they are able to accomplish their goals." - Teacher
Some lessons from this experience:
"We learned that you can do big things no matter what age you are. In the book, Trevor, a 12 year old, by starting Pay It Forward, changed the world." - Student
"Our students have learned that even though they are young, they can still make a positive difference in the world. They have also learned that following through with their ideas is a lot of work, but there is also a lot of satisfaction in seeing the end result." - Teacher
For more information about the Valley Elementary school project, please contact Ms. Jeannie Krambeer or Ms. Julie Frieden, or visit their GoFundMe page. For more information about the work of Heifer International, please contact their volunteer coordinators.
Iowa High School students receive national honors for confronting hunger through social enterprise
While just in her first year of college at American University, Maria Belding of Pella has received multiple national awards, including the prestigious 2015 Clinton Hunger Leadership Award and the top prize for nonprofit social venture at the 2015 George Washington University Business Plan Competition.
Working with fellow Iowans Grant Nelson of Des Moines and Kota Olson of Keswick, Maria created the award-winning MEANS Database, an online system enabling food pantries to communicate with each other and their donors to reduce food waste and feed more people.
Maria credits the World Food Prize education programs for providing her with inspiration, mentorship and introductions to a diverse group of talented young people who share her enthusiasm. More information about Maria, Kota and other young Iowans fighting hunger is available online or by emailing Jacob Hunter or Stephen Lauer.