Monday, March 15, 2010

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers 03/15/2010

As I write this date, I realize it is the Ides of March which in the Roman calendar referred to the 15th day of the month. It became significant as a day of foreboding when good old Julius Caesar was done in after a seer warned him to “beware the Ides of March”. Today I am going to tell you about two different groups of young people who are taking any foreboding about the future in their own hands and warding it off.

At Tesseract School in Paradise Valley three teachers from the elementary school, Renee, Mary, and Maureen have challenged their students to participate in a read-a-thon. It was structured to have the students get pledges from people to donate a varying amount of money to sit with the student while they read in twenty minute segments. The students were so enthusiastic about it this year that they raised almost $2000 to sponsor Lady Liberty in our AWE program. Over the past three years the third grade class has had read-a-thons that raised money to sponsor Hedwig, the great horned owl, and Cassie and Eliot, the American Kestrels. In each case they received a class certificate, the AWE book on that particular education animal and a visit to their classes by each animal sponsored. This is such a delightful way to see young people involved by encouraging reading while helping the environment and wildlife….a perfect combination in my opinion.

Just this past Friday our education group went to West Valley Middle School at 6750 W. Durango to give a presentation to a seventh grade class. Knowing that a donation would be helpful for our education animals and wildlife in general the class set about raising money to present to the volunteers. They presented Liberty Wildlife with a box full of rolled pennies equaling $100 and another check for $228.50. When requesting the program, teacher Donna Katarnia said that the class was looking for a way to give back to the community that takes care of animals. Their efforts are heartwarming and inspiring.

It is very reassuring to see the number of schools, parents, and charity organizations looking for ways to enable youth to become involved in making their world better. In general there are a few people who seem to be born with the “giving” gene. The rest of them learn the lesson of philanthropy and civic involvement by being taught/mentored in the behavior. It gives me great hope for the future, so rebuke the foreboding of the Ides of March….it is just the fifteenth day of the month of March.