Yesterday I visited the 5th grade class at the John Foster Dulles Elementary School in Cincinnati. The kids there have been playing a ton of FreeRice this school year. That is the online learning game where every correct answer you get means a donation of ten grains of rice to the UN World Food Programme (WFP).
Their teacher, Tish Wodetzki, gathered the kids into an assembly hall. There I gave them the latest update on where the FreeRice grains are going. The WFP told me there is a US $53,000 grant that has been issued from FreeRice to support school feeding in Niger. This food is at the WFP warehouse and ready for distribution.
I told the class all that FreeRice they had been playing was helping out children a world away. That makes a huge difference to know what the impact their playing is making. Niger had recently been through a severe drought and food shortages. They really needed the rice. Keep playing, I told the students. These kids also have a lot of older brothers and sisters taking the SAT exam, so I urged them to use the FreeRice SAT prep section.
When I found out the students had Iphones, I figured why not tell them about Charity Miles. That is another way to support WFP, Feeding America and 28 other charities. Charity Miles is the free app you download onto your smartphone. Every mile you run, walk or bike raise donations for charity, paid for by corporate sponsors.
The kids caught on right away to Charity Miles. Tish told me a lot of the students downloaded it for the next recess. But during the presentation they came up with some interesting questions on ways you could get Charity Miles. They asked can you get them cliff diving? I replied don't cliff dive. Another asked if you could get Charity Miles while swimming. The answer is yes, as long as you can protect your Iphone from the water.
A 5th grade class can do a lot to help fight world hunger and other causes. That should be a part of classes everywhere. That is learning and service at the same time.