While exploring the effects of the robber barons in the United States, Bendwood School students learned they were the country’s first philanthropists.
Annie Mitchell, Economics and Business teacher at the Bendwood School, was excited about this lesson because it directly helps students develop and implement Spring Branch ISD’s Core Characteristics of a T-2-4 Ready Graduate.
“Being Ethical & Service-minded is one of our essential Core Characteristics,” said Mitchell. “While most people think about economics and money as earning, saving and spending, we embrace the donating part through philanthropy on a local and global scale.”
To reinforce how philanthropy has the power to influence social change, Mitchell introduced the Kenya Philanthropic Project. As a graduate student at the University of St. Thomas, Mitchell has the opportunity to raise school supply donations for orphanages in Nairobi and Nakuru, Kenya. She made this initiative a part of her lesson and provided her students with a list of school supplies and personal care items including paintbrushes, crayons, socks and toothbrush sets, for students in need.
Donations were accepted throughout April and students across 17 SBISD elementary schools collected more than 3,000 school supplies and personal care items.
Mitchell is taking a study abroad class and will be traveling to Kenya this summer to hand deliver the school supplies.
Logan Morris, a participating third-grade student from Cedar Brook Elementary, asked his neighbors for donations and spent his savings on items for the philanthropic project.
“I donated school supplies because I want other people to have access to the same things and have equal opportunities,” said Logan. “They can use the materials to become builders and artists. It makes me feel happy to help others have access to what I have.”
Students also briefly participated in the University of St. Thomas’ Committee of Student Research Symposium, where they listened to other graduate students present their academic research and respective projects.
Mitchell was excited for students to learn and engage in philanthropy at an early age. She incorporates a philanthropic project in one of her lessons every year. Last spring, her class collected more than 1,000 school supplies for students in Angola.
“This humanitarian philanthropic bridge between SBISD and the Kenyan orphanages has helped develop our students’ Core Characteristics,” said Mitchell. “I’m excited for our students to make a global impact on people around the world!”