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A Good Cause. Just Because.

When I do good I feel good. When I do bad I feel bad. And that is my religion. -  Abraham Lincoln

Several years ago I was required to do internships at different schools so that I could see what it was like to be a school principal. At the time, I had only been in middle and high schools and was quite lucky to have the experience to visit four different elementary schools for one week at a time. Part of what I'd do is shadow the principal and watch them work. As much theory as one can get from books, it is an invaluable thing to watch a practitioner in action. The four principals I shadowed are some of the very best I've ever witnessed and their encouraging words made it possible for me to believe that I could actually do this work with the fiery passion I had for kids.

At one of the schools I was lucky enough to witness Mr. C's classroom. His room was directly across from the main office where I spent some of my time. He is a special needs teacher who works so well with kids that I was immediately impressed with his patience. Mr. C, I learned last week, is doing some work with his students that require iPods so that he can incorporate technology in the classroom. Here is a quote from his district webpage:
Children with special needs should be given the best we as educators have to offer. They deserve the best practices, learning environment, materials and technology coupled with the highest expectations for their success.

Mr. C gave me the thumbs-up to write about what he's doing in his classroom and my intent is to help him get votes for a classroom project he wants to do with his students. The longer I've been blogging about schools and education the more I realize that I can help shine a light on amazing things that are happening in schools. Somehow, by sheer dumb luck I'm sure, I have garnered a following of diverse, supportive readership. When people ask what my blog is about I usually say that it's a personal blog, but I know I also fall into the 'mommyblogger' category but I admit that I write more about education than I do almost anything else. Even fashion and lip gloss. To wit, my first article for Teaching Tolerance is up. Granted, I'm mostly discussing how we can bring Islam into the classroom in light of the controversy over the building of Park51, but I know that I can help spotlight things like what Mr C is doing. Complete aside that I can't fit any better in this post than to just say it: when I walked my dog tonight in my neighborhood, I noticed that our Muslim neighbors have a sticker on their mailbox that reads Proud to be an American and I thought to myself, Good on you! I'm no more American than you are! and then I made a mental note to bring them brownies or pie or something. Just because.

Mr C has a project up through Limeades for Learning. It's sponsored by Sonic and DonorsChoose. He wants to use technology in his classroom of K-2 students who come to him with a variety of disabilities. He's hoping to get some iPods for their independent use, but I know for a fact that he's also hoping to expand this wish list to iPads for his students. Not long ago I read an article by Shannon Des Roches Rosa, a contributing editor on parenting children with special needs at BlogHer. Her son, who is autistic, won an iPad through a raffle and he experienced astonishing results. Reading that made finding this project by Mr. C all the more pressing for me to help promote.

Mr C's class

Mr. C and his students. Couldn't you eat them up with a spoon?

If you'd like to help Mr. C or another teacher out, please visit the links above. He needs votes for his project as well as donations and DonorsChoose gave me $100 to give to my favorite project. Mr. C and his kids got that money for the iPods they want to purchase. I'm giving away another $100 for any reader who'd like to donate as well. In fact, the prize pack includes the following:

1. $100 DonorsChoose gift card.

2. $25 gift card to Sonic (Route 44 Cherry Limeade, anyone? YUM.)

3. A backpack filled with some school supplies.

Any comment will do. Giving back is just that easy sometimes. Comments will be open until the end of Labor Day on Monday, September 6, 2010. Thanks for even taking a moment to comment. Every single comment is like a ray of sunshine to me and I say a sweet little prayer of thanks any time you take the time to do it.

Just because.

Update: in less than 24 hours Mr. C's goals were met and all the funds were raised. Thank you again for your support. Those of you who voted and donated, my deepest appreciation.
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Reader Comments (41)

Voted! And don't enter me in anything; just let me buy you a cherry limeade the next time we're together.

September 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJulie @ The Mom Slant

I saw your tweet and immediately voted for Mr. C. I have a daughter who has special needs and she has benefited from a touch screen laptop.

Our school applied for grants for a smartboard and won! The special needs class room is getting one this year (they received two last rear and 12 teachers went through the training our school is getting 5 more this year - all thanks to a teacher who applied on his own!)

Thank you for shining a light on all that you do!

September 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermelissa

Right on, dude. Also, what julie said.

September 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermr lady

Too cute!! Great cause. Thank you.

September 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterajira

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mr Lady, mochamomma. mochamomma said: It's like a contest where everyone wins. You can TOTALLY do this. [...]

I love, love, love Donors Choose.

September 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Special needs kids are awesome. I love working with them and their families in my practice. It's sometimes frustrating but always rewarding.

I voted for Mr. C., put a link up on my Facebook, and will be voting every day.

People like y'all rock.

September 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

I love this - very cool. And no need to enter me into the drawing.

September 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAvitable

Let me say this outright if it is not already clear: you are one of my personal heroes and a professional mentor. If every human being used his or her life in the way that you do (corrected of course for opportunity and access, because you know that's the teacherly way to throw that in. ;)) the world would shine so much brighter.

I also love the fact that you referenced that post of Shannon's, which changed my brain in a few, best possible, ways. Diagnosis or not, there are so many young people who end up sitting in front of me who I KNOW could be reached with technology they can neither afford nor directly access -- and not only because they have no idea it exists. They're not following the live stream of Steve Jobs's latest release, put it that way.

I will vote and pass this on. You know I teach the big kids. I won't disqualify myself but if I win the money goes back to Mr. C and the backpack to a kid of his choosing. I don't have a Sonic near me, unfortunately, so he or anyone he thinks needs it gets that too.

September 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie

I voted, and even asked for the daily "reminder" e-mail to vote again. I'm a former teacher (now education policy researcher), and my husband is an Ed Tech coordinator for his school district, so this is a cause we believe in...

September 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMari

Lurker here. I voted and like the others, if I win, please pass all the winnings onto Mr C. I'll be voting every day in honor of my own first grade "special" boy. Thank you for what you do here!

September 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

Voted and appreciate your sharing his story. It's nice to hear of good teachers who go the extra mile for our kids, who are all very special indeed!

September 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRobin

Done. Terrific idea. Thanks for spreading the word. Mr. C. gets my prize too please, if I'm so lucky.

September 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKate

Mr C - FTW! So glad to see his project is in DonorsChoose, as well. Excellent - I'm donating.

September 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDenise

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Denise Tanton, mochamomma. mochamomma said: RT @dtanton: I donated: thanks @mochamomma! #donorschoose [...]

I voted. And like the others (although this is pretty unnecessary since I never win things), if I win, just go ahead and give the money to Mr. C. And I want you to know that your posts are rays of sunshine! Rays of sunshine usually accompanied by tears, but I think that adds up to a rainbow....I gotta go caffeinate.

September 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMeg Evans

Voted! I live in the inner city, so if I win, I'll find a local project to donate to, and give the backpack to our local elementary school. I'm already plotting out what I can do to support them when M is a student there since we are lucky enough to not need for anything at home really.

September 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmelia Sprout

Voted. Wonderful cause, my friend.

September 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenny, Bloggess

I voted - I hope that he wins. What a great idea.

[If I win, just give the prize to Mr. C. & his students.]

September 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSuniverse

Yay, I voted!! I love the Donors Choose site, and as always, LOVE your blog!! :-)

September 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

Excellent cause, thanks for letting us know via your blog and Twitter! Voted, donated, tweeted. I echo Suniverse, if I win give the goods to Mr. C and his class.

September 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKathryn (@Kat1124)

As if I didn't love you enough, lady. Voting, and spreading the word. Don't enter me either. :)

September 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAngella

Voted and ditto on what Julie said. I want to give you, Mr. C and all of those kids big hugs right now!

September 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDymphnasis AKA Mary

LOVE LOVE LOVE all of this. I love Donors Choose, and I love that they work hard to get corporate partners to match results, and do campaigns like this one. I had read that post of Shannon's about the iPad and it opened my eyes to the possibilities, so glad educators like Mr. C are making the future happen now. And I used to adore Teaching Tolerance, used their curriculum pieces often (remember getting the hands logo stickers from SPLC every so often and giving them as treasured prizes to kids), so good for you and thank you for reminding me of their good work! Voting voting voting.

September 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDeb Rox

Voted! And I'm Canadian, so I don't want your silly phony American prizes. Wink.

(Unless you have some Canadian Tire money kicking about. I'll totally take that.)

September 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRedneck Mommy

my youngest is developmentally delayed and disabled secondary to his 4 month premature birth. we have had some issues at his new school this year related to one's teacher's horrible opinion about kids like my son.
reading about Mr. C brings tears to my eyes and swells my heart 7 times larger. what a treasure he is and how lucky his students are!

September 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLaura Scarborough

I voted. I have a son with autism. If it were for his teachers, those with hearts as big as Mr. C's, I don't know where we would be. Thank you so much.

September 2, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkelly

I voted.

Good teachers like him deserve to be celebrated. I really hope he wins.

September 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterIssa

I voted. What a great idea!

September 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa Roy

Inspiration knows no limits. Going now to vote...

September 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBOSSY

I voted... and then I donated... just because it was on my heart to give, I guess. I think Mr. C.'s students deserve it.

It is my hope that my son has the kind of teacher that loves his/her students in every situation he needs. He is not a Special Needs child, but that doesn't mean his needs aren't special to me, right?

September 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMicki

I went to vote & it said it was over. If I win, I'll take the Sonic card & give the rest to Mr C. My son loves Sonic & dinner there would make me cool in his eyes.

September 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

Love his quote! My younger brother was in Special Ed for all of his educational life (until they illegally kicked him out at age 18 - state law says they can stay until age 21, which would've been a major blessing for his fulltime caretaker AKA my mom) & his classes never had the best of anything. All of his classrooms were the dingy back rooms with crappy secondhand materials. This is a topic near and dear to my heart!

September 3, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjen

I love DonorsChoose. My boys both need some technology to get through class, but I had to buy the netbooks myself. Luckily I was able to, but I think this is a great project for kids/parents who can't do the same.

September 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSuzy

I love donorschoose. What a great organization.

September 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichele D

I work as a paraprofessional in an elementary with 5th & 6th grade SPED students and 4th-6th Title students. They are wonderful, and every time I have the privilege of seeing the lightbulb turn on in a child's head, I am moved again. I lock myself in the staff restroom to have my cry, every now and then, and I love to get up and do it all over again the next day. You are a wonderful educator and I am so impressed with all you do!

September 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenniferB

This is so awesome kudos to this teacher.good luck with this awesome project!

September 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

Voting now... I am so glad to read about you and your dedication to all students. I hope Mr. C's class can get all the ipods and ipads they need.

September 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLindsey

[...] I wrote about helping out a teacher on this post, I didn’t realize just how far this venture would be taking me. He has another project up [...]

September 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMocha Momma » Daily Life

[...] while ago I wrote about getting involved with Donors Choose and my teacher friend, Mr. Curry. Since that time at the beginning of the school year I have kept in touch with him mostly via [...]

January 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMocha Momma » Room 103

[...] year I was fortunate enough to be able to help out Mr. Curry’s classroom so his students could get iPod touches to use and this year I’m giving away $25 in Donors [...]

September 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSonic & Donors Choose | Mo

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