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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.


5 Responses

  1. Hi Laura, I just found your webpage from your mom’s blog. This is a fantastic idea! You are amazing! All of the work that you’ve already done is just incredible. Keep up the good work. I am thinking about a way that my family can participate. Will keep you posted.

  2. Wow, Laura’s mom…WAY cool. Your kid is as neat, intelligent, and as savvy as you are. This is amazing! Already it is making a difference and your whole family should be proud of what you have accomplished in so few days. Your “little project” is creating ripples that are having huge effects on others…Way to go!

  3. Hi Laura and Mom!

    I love what you’re doing and think you’re a great example of being the change you want to see in the world. I wanted to let you know that I’ve shared your project at my blog, The Conspiracy of Blessings. blessingconspiracy.blospot.com

    Many blissings to you this holiday season!

  4. I already sense a “Make a Difference 365 Days a Year” follow up, or a similar idea, from the creative and givng mind behind this project.

    Laura, please know that you have inspired many. Your efforts are part of a great idea: that the single giving of one person may cascade, and make many more people follow.

    Many blessings to you this Christmas season. You are making a wonderful difference.

  5. Thank you for this post. I particularly liked that you wrote this: “Parents and teachers are trained to fear the internet.” Until I went to work at a school I honestly didn’t know how true that statement was. Are there reasons to be cautious and smart in using it? Absolutely. But I feel adults are doing a real disservice to kids–who are living technologically-rich lives outside of school–by trying to convince them that something with as much potential as blogging is a bad thing. What I love about the blogosphere is that it flattens hierarchies…and Laura is a prime example of that.

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