The K-12 students of Blaine Country, ID are learning about the power of generosity and how they can make an impact on their community. Non-profit organization WOW-Students has coordinated with 12 schools, 400 teachers, 125 non-profits and over 4,000 Blaine County students to design an experience that shows the power of giving. Blaine County students are the first ones in the nation to be presented with this opportunity.
Every student in Blaine County will donate to a local non-profit with funds that have been provided by WOW-Students’ financial supporters. The students will engage directly with the non-profits, donate the funds, (approximately $25 per student) and volunteer their time on a specific project the non-profit has indicated it needs assistance in completing.
WOW-Students is based on one simple premise; generosity is a key component to the foundation of a strong community, and the learning needs to start at a young age. As the idea began to build, it became quite clear that to make an impact on the community, it would have to be a community effort. WOW-Students is working directly with the non-profits on the design and implementation of their projects and helping the teachers with the curriculum component. "We believe that by innovating and adjusting thinking, we can inspire and expand generosity across the Wood River Valley," said Morley Golden, President of Wow-Students.org."As the students are exposed to the breadth of services provided by our community’s non-profits they will learn how those services impact the lives in our community. It’s simple. We believe that if children are empowered with the opportunity to be generous, they can change the world.”
Currently the teachers and students are reviewing over 60 projects listed on WOW-Students.org, to determine which non-profit they want to work with. The Pioneer Montessori School Upper Elementary (4th, 5th and 6th grades) recently selected Trout Unlimited’s “Adopt-A-Trout”. The project participation included a coordinated class field trip of 35 students on the Big Wood River led by Southern Idaho Project Manager Chad Chorney. The trip involved watching Idaho Fish and Game and Trout Unlimited volunteers net and sedate fish for implanting with a radio telemetry tag. The device allows for tracking and information gathering, and will also allow the students to monitor the trout in the river, via the Internet. They also helped weigh and measure fish, record data, learn about riparian habitat, fish biology and the importance of the Big Wood River Ecosystem to cold water fisheries.
This is just one of many non-profit projects the students are teaming up with. Other projects range from building the Greenhouse located in Hailey’s Hope Garden (a major contributor to Hunger Coalition's Mobile Food Bank), to working with the Lee Pesky Learning Center and their partners Head Start and Blaine County preschool classrooms to deliver books and read with a pre-school "buddy".
The projects are not only inspiring the students to get involved through WOW, but the classes have begun to coordinate their own funding projects. The 6th grade class at Wood River Middle School is selling buttons to benefit the Nature Conservancy’s Butterfly Garden at Silver Creek Preserve, the 7th grade blue team at Wood River Middle School plans to sell planters to increase funds for their donation, and the 4th grade at Community School is raising additional money to help pay for the building materials they need to build new shelters (which they are constructing) for the Animal Shelter.
Throughout the month of November the students will continue to select the non-profits of their choice and engage in the defined projects. WOW-Students expects the projects to be funded towards the end of November with coordinated check presentations by the classes to the non-profits. When the funds are received and allocated to projects the non-profits will communicate with the students directly.
Both a requirement and key factor to the success of WOW-Students is the non-profits ability to demonstrate the outcome of the investments back to the students. Donors at any age need to see the real life affect their donation had on its recipients. Non-profits that can clearly and meaningfully tell this side of the story will be the ones that see donations come from consistent and committed donors, for years into the future.
WOW-Students encourages the community to get involved. If you are associated with a non-profit and would like to see your projects listed, please contact us to get started. Also, donations can be made on WOW-Students.org to assist listed projects that may need supplemental funds to be completed.