During my ten years of teaching primary school with the Grand Erie District School Board, I have helped organize a lot of fundraisers. Bake sales and clothing drives never felt like enough — a single act or event did nothing to teach the kids about their greater role in changing the world.
My dream has always been to help those without access to basic necessities, and to teach those with the means how to use their power to help the powerless. I was determined to create an initiative that would resonate with the kids in my class beyond a 2-hour event, and connect them with the curriculum.
So in 2010, I founded what is now known as the Write To Give Program. The Write To Give program brings students (world wide) from Kindergarten through Grade Six together to write a story.
Each story involves five classes who contribute to a different part of the story. Working chronologically, classes develop the setting and characters, plot (problem/solution) and ending. Another class is responsible for illustrations. The story is then printed into a published book. The book is then sold with the proceeds going to the Canadian charity World Teacher Aid, which helps build school in rural parts of Kenya.
This idea ticked all the boxes I was looking for. It incorporated the school curriculum, it went over great with the kids, and the stories were amazing—relentlessly creative with all kinds of twists and turns. Plus, it created a tremendous awareness in the class about the need to foster education and agency in developing countries.
With the help of a few good friends we published our first book, Sir Blur and the Giant Dragon. And from there, the program has blossomed in a BIG way.
Today, the Write To Give program has now published 118 books involving over 12,000 students from around the world. This is all thanks to the amazing teachers who shared the vision of helping their kids become published authors while helping others in need.
Thanks, in part to this program, World Teacher Aid has now raised $1.6 million and has built 8 schools (6 primary schools and 2 high schools). Each school has eight classrooms, and over 3000 students get to go to school.
Write to Give plants the seeds of charity in the minds of young students. It’s even more important today than when I first started and something I’m very proud to continue to lead and support.
Founder World Teacher Aid and Write to Give