Sunday, October 20, 2013

Pay It Forward
Of all the things that I would most like to teach my students, it is the idea of how to make a difference in the life of someone else by serving.
I recently heard Abdi's story and his very clearly explains what it eans to "pay it forward".  He came to the US as a Somali refugee at age 17 and after spending a short time in California, he found out that in Minnesota, you can stay in high school until age 21.  He moved here and, athough he knew little to no English when he arrived in the US, he was able to graduate from high school and go on to college at the University of Minnesota.  Homework Help, a program run by the Hennepin County libraries, made a huge difference in his success story because there he found caring volunteer tutors to assist him in his studies.  Now, Abdi pays it forward - he is now in charge of this program and is the one to make sure that others like him find the help they need to continue their studies.
Hennepin County Library Homework Help
What does it mean to you to pay it forward?  For me it means many things:  sending a homemade card to a shut-in; providing a meal to new parents or to my elderly parents; sharing my gift of music on Sunday mornings at my church and so on.
For my students, it begins with smiling and greeting each other in the morning and listening respectfully when others are speaking.  And from that point on, the sky's the limit!