Help kids in this South Side Chicago school — it won't cost you a penny

December 14, 2013 • Posted in Beth Finke, Blogroll, guest blog, Uncategorized, visiting schools, Whitney by

Today’s guest post is by Elizabeth Seebeck, the founder of Oglesby Montessori Foundation.

by Elizabeth

Last February, 31 little bodies sat still in their small, Montessori classroom in one of the most impoverished neighborhoods of Chicago: the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood. The children were absolutely mesmerized by Beth, her dog, and her story.

Beth, Judy and the children in Oglesby's Montessori Program.

Beth, Judy and the children in Oglesby’s Montessori Program.

It’s not every day that schoolkids get to meet a blind author who answers each and every question they have! And it’s not every day that students on Chicago’s South Side participate in a public Montessori program that develops their curious minds, stimulates their thirst for knowledge, and promises to encourage them to succeed in a neighborhood that makes few promises.

Children at the Oglesby Montessori School benefit from hands on and experiential learning
— like when Beth came and showed them how to read Braille. Now, our students are trying to take a huge step into that big world by building an urban farm and garden for their community to cultivate along with them.

The Oglesby Montessori Foundation funds this alternative school choice for families on the south side of Chicago, and this garden project is one of 5 finalists in a national contest sponsored by Teach for America and Fed Ex. If we win, we’ll get $25,000 for our garden proposal.

Three Potential Gardeners in Oglesby's Montessori Program Program

Three Potential Gardeners in Oglesby’s Montessori Program

Having free access to nutritious food, and being in touch with that food from seed to harvest is transformative. In order to win, we need the most votes for a short video we made about the garden project, and we need those votes by Friday, December 27. It doesn’t cost a thing to vote (all you need is a Facebook or Twitter account), so please vote for young Chicago gardeners!

Beth here: the site you use to vote is totally accessible with screen readers, so I was able to vote without looking at the video. If you can see and you’re in a hurry, you can vote without taking time to watch the video, too. I bet it’s cute, though!

Thank you.

Heatherholahan On December 15, 2013 at 6:02 pm

Just voted Beth. This is a great story and inspiration. Thank you for sharing.

Sent from my iPhone

bethfinke On December 15, 2013 at 8:29 pm

Thanks, Heather — I’ve always known I can count on you! Please spread the word about this project if you can, in this holiday season, the more the…merrier!

The Empty Pen On December 15, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Just voted! Thanks, Beth.

bethfinke On December 15, 2013 at 9:40 pm

Don’t thank me –thank *you*, Emptypen for voting!

Benita Black On December 18, 2013 at 11:37 am

FedEx—a rich company—asks us to choose among the following: A poor school in Chicago that wants to build a garden; a poor school in Atlanta that wants to expose its kids to the arts; a poor school in Houston that wants to build a library; and two other inner city schools that are dedicating themselves to STEM teaching.
So the onus is on the viewers of the videos: Which poor kids are you going to vote for and which will you decide to ignore?
Shame on you, FedEx. You can afford to fund all of these worthy projects.

bethfinke On January 7, 2014 at 9:35 am

Good news, everyone: Oglesby Montessori received a $5000 grant towards their garden –thanks to all of you for your help, and I’m hoping to have one of the kids (along with the help of their wonderful teachers) write a guest blog about this once the first vegetable blooms this spring/summer. Stay tuned.


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