South Pasadena schools are legendary in Southern California. Each year they are ranked among the best in the state. US News and World Report even rated South Pasadena High School as one of the best in the country.
We're fortunate to benefit from these outstanding public schools. Innovative teachers, a diverse student population and a vibrant, involved parent/teacher foundation assure that all South Pasadena children have the opportunity for a good education. The schools were the main reason my husband and I initially decided to sell our west side Los Angeles home and buy a house in South Pasadena. It's the reason many people are content to rent here even when they could buy elsewhere.
But many areas around the country are not nearly as fortunate. And with that in mind, I wanted to highlight a wonderful non profit organization I recently discovered...
Donor's Choose is a smart way to give needy students the materials public schools often cannot provide. Teachers from around the country submit project proposals, and concerned individuals -- like us -- can choose which projects to fund. Proposals range from requests for library books to overhead projectors, from computers to costumes for dramatic productions. You can search by areas of interest, or geographic location and then donate to the projects you find the most interesting. Recently, I helped a Las Vegas history teacher provide all of his students with an alternate history book to compare and contrast with the one provided by the state. I was particularly excited about this opportunity because the proposed book -- Howard Zinn's People's History of the United States -- was one that changed my life and enabled me, as a young person, to develop my critical thinking. The idea of giving others that same experience was thrilling.
Don't feel like you have to be Bill Gates to participate ... you can donate as much -- or as little -- as you choose. (And in many instances, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will match your donation.) Please take a look and see if there might be a classroom project with your name on it. Or even better: Donor's Choose allows you to make contributions in someone else's honor. What better way to thank your old 6th grade teacher than by funding a project in her name?