Teachers Make A Difference

2000_4_founderCharles Best & Donors Choose

“CBS This Morning,” with Charlie Rose, Norah O’Donnell, and Gayle King is my favorite news show. I enjoy the television program and tape the entire two-hour broadcast. This way if interrupted by brushing my teeth or putting in a wash, I can fast forward during lunch and view what I have missed. The show’s tag line “Real News” is evident in many segments and laughter is kept to a minimal. I love, love. Love the “90 Second Eye Opener,” that captures the day’s top stories and more importantly, special reports inform me about things I do not know about, like Donors Choose.

Donors Choose is an online charity that collects and distributes donations to public school teachers across America, so teachers do not have to take money out of their own pockets for projects.

“Teachers ask, you choose,” is their mantra.

The program was started in 2000, by Charles Best, a history teacher at a Bronx high school. He and his colleagues were spending their own money on school supplies. Best built a website for teachers to post classroom project requests and people to make donations. His peers posted 10 projects, but Charles did not know any donors, so he funded those projects, anonymously. The other teachers thought the website worked and rumors spread. Fourteen years later, $292,646,946 dollars have been raised, and 528,697 projects funded. Clearly, teachers make a difference and I recall one that made a difference in my life.

The writer in me would not let the memory rest until I found some words in which they could be expressed.

Not Forgotten  

Miss Brown, my first grade teacher listened to me, “I was absent on Tuesday, and didn’t get a wooden box.” The other students had retrieved their Mother’s Day project from the supply cabinet and sat at their desks arranging paint and paint brushes.

   She smiled and said, “I saved one just for you.”

   I thought her hair yellow, like a Crayola crayon in a package hugged by red and orange. Her blue eyes sparkled and her Pageboy haircut bounced with enthusiasm when she taught. My heart raced as she held my hand, and we walked to the back of the classroom, my attention on her penny loafers. Together we bent to look inside the cabinet, darkness prevented a good view, but as my pupils adjusted, a wooden box appeared.

Miss Brow is not her real name. I cannot remember her name only her kindness.

. . . .just saying

Upworthy and Conflicted

ICanHazMeaningCat500Picture from Upworthy/ Core message; I have meaning.

Have you heard about Upworthy? Neither had I until Eli Pariser, its founder, was interviewed on CBS News . It is one of those social media websites, but different. Pariser categorizes his website as “a social media with a mission.” If you see someone dancing in their underwear it will be to draw attention to a meaningful topic, i.e., pollution, going green, health care, etc.

I am intrigued but conflicted. Conflicted about time; the time it will take to search and read about this new website. Today, I have six plus hours to write, since Mr. Wonderful is out of the house playing golf. You are right, six hours sounds like more than a game of golf, and when asked about another woman. Mr. Wonderful says, “Another woman would be cheaper.”

Back to writing, I could turn What is Upworthy? into a post, but planned to write about another New Year’s Resolutions, to stand up straight.

Curiosity wins and I do a search, conflicted about going off task versus living in the moment. What the heck, I am retired.

Upworthy is not a newspaper and does not report news. You watch videos like the one of Jennifer Livingston  responding to a WKBT viewer email about her weight. The viewer criticized Jennifer as obese and not a proper role model. The world joined her retort that he is a bully. The video originally posted on Upworthy went viral.

David Carr, a writer for the New York Times, labels Upworthy a “news aggregation site.” The word means accumulating, joining, or combining and its founder agrees.

Pairser says, “At best, things online are usually either awesome or meaningful, but everything on Upworthy.com has both.”  He believes Upworthy is:

  • sensational and substantial
  • entertaining and enlightening
  • shocking and significant

His staff, a  ragtag group of ruffians, fact check all posts/videos and Pairser claims their audience consists of “people who care about the world, but don’t want to be bored.”

The CBS interview was positive. Charlie Rose asked about the market for real news and Pairser made an analogy to the vegetable Brussels-sprouts, commenting; media portrays meaningful news as undesirable but essential. He thinks there is a craving for substantial news and believes Upworthy has no empty calories.

I like Brussels-sprouts.

Now that I know what Upworthy is, what good is it?

Well it is an informative media. I watched several videos and although not entertained, not bored. John Green gave a passionate eight minute rant about health care and sounded knowledgeable. Viewers cannot comment on Upworthy, but can like on Facebook and Twitter, and tweet or comment away.

So that was my day. I did attempt to change my theme for this blog and after one hour settled on changing the background color to amber, which is another New Year’s resolution, add color to my life.

. . . . just saying

P.S. I’ve been jumping around every day this week and haven’t lost one pound. Tomorrow is Friday. Also, please like me on Facebook and follow me on twitter, both at claudiajustsaying.