Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?

Once I built a railroad, made it run, 
made it race against time.
Once I built a railroad; now it's done. 
Brother, can you spare a dime?
Once I built a tower, up to the sun, 
brick and rivet, and lime;
Once I built a tower, now it's done. 
Brother, can you spare a dime?
There are two kinds of people in the world: those who fundraise and those who are hit up by fundraisers. Seems everyone has a hand out these days. Magazine sales for two different schools. Pleas from WBEZ, my beloved local NPR station, to shorten the fall fundraising drive by pledging now. Dunning notices. Late fees. A plummeting Dow. Yikes, man.

I think we are all more than a little frightened about money these days, and with good reason. The Dow fell 777 points on Monday, the biggest one-day drop ever — bigger than the Black Tuesday that precipitated the Great Depression; bigger than the 684 points it fell on the first trading day after 9/11. I like to joke that a falling stock market doesn't affect me — I'm too broke to own any stock — but the fact is, we are all affected by the economic mess in which we find ourselves. 

I'm no financial genius (huge understatement here), but there is one investment I know will never fail: education. If we want our children to make a difference in this world, to build a clean, cost-efficient public transportation system and make it run, to build a green tower using the power of the sun, we must support public education.

This post is a response to my first Chicago Moms Blog challenge, in which those of us who contribute have been asked to write about Last year's challenge helped more than 75,000 students in high-need public schools. I have mixed feelings about hocking my readers for a donation, so I offer this post as information only. I've checked out the group and it seems pretty cool. One of the most interesting aspects of it is that it allows donors to choose which specific educational project they would like to support. 

This is the time of year when many of us count our blessings, as well as our pennies. As you you count yours, if you find a few extra pennies under the cushions, considering passing them on to a cause you support. It's free to comment or make a pitch for your favorite cause by clicking here


Anonymous said...

Oh, I liked the song you picked. I never did pick out a magazine... I'm not a fundraiser fan, so I can't pick one that I'd hock people to donate money to. A very good post - but no fun picture? I am dissapointed!

Anonymous said...

Very well said, Susan. In today's "me-focused" age, it's more important than ever for people to look beyond themselves and support education. Thanks for bringing it to everyone's attention.

Anonymous said...

I think it is important to donate time and expertise to school as well as money. Reading to a kindergarten class or helping a student who has absent parents may make all the differences in this student's life. Money is not everything... Sometimes it's more important to be in the schools and show someone you care about them and their education. Everyone has something to offer, even if it's sitting next to a student and helping with homework, telling a story about travels to a foreign land, or putting together breakfast. Try painting a teacher's lounge or making the corner of a classroom a "special reading area." I taught in the public school classroom for over 20 years and believe that when people get involved in the schools they recognize that the teacher can not possibly give attention to 30 students all the time. Hopefully they will understand that just 30 minutes a week is all it takes to change the path of education.