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An Update From Laura’s Mom

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”
Helen Keller

Laura began this project in response to the project prompt linked to this year’s New York State Parent Teacher Association’s Reflection’s Contest. Students were asked to generate a creative response to the following statement: “I Can Make a Difference By…”and this left Laura, who was eager to join the competition, at a bit of a loss.

The truth is, children often feel powerless to effect change. They lack resources. They lack support. They lack a certain brand of power that is necessary for real change. Laura understands this well, and she found herself up against the reality of it as she began to think about how she might respond to this prompt.

Laura loves to blog. It is a new hobby of hers, and while I’ve been happy to help her edit her text and manage the volume of email she is receiving, the work here is purely her own. And the intention behind it? Even more so. I’ve learned a lot from my daughter in a very short period of time, and it has had nothing to do with approving comments or wrangling with the messed up code that happens to be attached to this particular template she chose. I’d like to be just like her when I grow up. She humbles me, as children are so apt to do.

Laura will tell you that she has learned a lot as well. She’s learned that sometimes, there is great power in releasing even a tiny bit of good into the world. Today, she told me that she never realized how much of a difference someone could make by simply writing something. As a teacher? I am thrilled to hear this. And as someone who is only beginning to understand the power of Web 2.0 tools and the internet in general? I am stunned. Parents and teachers are trained to fear the internet, and I am hoping that this project will prove to be a solid example of how kids can use the net for good reasons.

Laura wanted to create a ripple effect of service. She wanted to be able to see how far it might travel, not just in terms of distance, but in range of magnitude as well. Many of the people who are visiting and participating and encouraging Laura’s efforts have great appreciation for this phenomenon. And I have to admit that one of the things that I love about this project is the fact that we are able to carve a visible path for Laura’s call. So many people are “paying it forward” this month, and thanks to web 2.0 tools, we can trace that path and see where it begins to divide, expand, and eventually, intersect again…Laura is hopeful that the final destination is simply amazing. And I’m hoping that the destination we reach on Christmas night is a temporary stop. I’m hoping that the path is never-ending now. That somehow, this year’s little project is something we all remember and act in memory of, in much the same way that Laura is memorializing her grandfather. That would be something, don’t you think?

This place is already getting so much more attention than Laura or I or anyone ever imagined it would. And we have people to thank and exciting things to mention!

First of all, our weekend was a pretty eventful one, thanks to the interest and free assistance provided by a number of people who stepped forward to help us, including Dr. Mani, Jen Lemen, Willie Crawford, and especially, Ria Ludy.

When I came home from work today? I had a nice phone conversation with Lauren Danza, the Associate Producer of the CBS News Early Show. Hello Lauren!!! You made our day!!! The best part? When you mentioned the fact that you were planning to do something small to make a difference today yourself. For real. That’s what mattered to Laura most. You wear some pretty big shoes, and when Laura learned that you were taking her challenge seriously? Well, that meant a lot to her. So, thank you.

In addition, many, many others have written lovely pieces about this project’s purpose in the last several days. Please do visit these sites and let them know we sent you. And thank you, so much, everyone. Everyone keeps telling me that John and I must be incredibly proud of Laura. And we are. But we’re just as amazed by the efforts of every single person who took the time to pay attention to our kid’s little project. It’s all of you who have made it BIG. And together, you are all making a difference.


How I Made a Difference on December 3, 2007

How Many Kisses Goodnight (Classic Board Books)

Today, I decided that my good deed would be donating gently used books to Roswell Park Cancer Institute. This is the hospital where my grandpa was treated when he was sick, and I know that there are children there who have cancer too. I think that maybe they will like my books.
I also plan on asking my classmates to contribute gently used books as well. My little sister Nina is seven, and she worked hard going through her shelves tonight to donate too! If you are interested in donating books yourself, please visit BookEnds.
My favorite book is How Many Kisses Goodnight? by Jean Monrad Thomas. It makes me feel cozy, because my mom and dad used to read it to me when I was little. I gave it to my sister, and she loves it too.
The reason why I decided to donate books today is because two AWESOME teachers from Starpoint Central School matched my funds today. Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Fisher!!! I thought this would be a good deed to do to show my thanks.
My mom spent some time updating our blogroll. If you are participating and you have a blog, you should find your link there! If you are participating, but you don’t have a blog, you will still be listed on the Participants page at the top of the site. Please email us if we accidentally missed you. We can be contacted at twentyfivedays(at)gmail(dot)com. Thank you!
And also! My mom really needs help making a badge and I really would like to be able to help people have one for their sites. Please think about taking part in our badge contest! I would really appreciate it.

Getting on the Blogroll

If you are one of the readers who has decided to take me up on my challenge, please email me at twentyfivedays(at)gmail(dot)com to let me know who you are! I want to create a blogroll for those that will be blogging along, and I will also create a separate page of participants, so we can see how many people are participating in ANY WAY. Please know that we will not be listing your full name on this page–just your first name (and you can make this up) and your state or country! AND DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE BADGE CONTEST!!!!