Elise is off doing wonderful things and making change as a Peace Corps Volunteer and English teacher in Ukraine.  She’s putting together a project to buy English books for her school.  Elise is really a great person–and she’s given me plenty of advice for preparing to go back to Georgia in an entirely different capacity and given me pointers on working and teaching in the Former Soviet Union.  You should visit her original post here, but I’m re-posting the entire post in its entirety so that the word gets out.  And, as she mentions, you should provide your contact info for a thank-you card from her kids–I got one for a box of books I sent and it was ADORABLE.

English Textbook Grant

Posted on December 21, 2011

I am very pleased to announce that my Partnership grant, which has been in the works for a very large part of my Peace Corps Service, has finally become a reality. We finished everything last week, signed it, and today I got an email from Washington, DC saying that it is available on the website for donations.

Please, if at all possible, make a donation to this grant! Every dollar counts. Just $15 will guarantee that one of the students will have a textbook to use until they graduate. However, any amount you can donate to this project will be greatly appreciated.  Also, please know that donations through Peace Corps are tax-deductible.

To donate, click here. It will take you to the official Peace Corps website, and to information about the project. It is called “English Textbooks and Maximizing Potential.” Then, enter the amount you want to donate and follow the instructions. 

You can also go to www.peacecorps.gov and click on “Donate to Volunteer Projects” on the left hand side. In the search bar, type in Stephens or 343-294 to get to my project. It is called “English Textbooks and Maximizing Potential.”  Then, enter the amount you want to donate and follow the instructions.  

***Please note, if you donate to the general fund of Peace Corps or Ukraine, the money will not go to this project.***

English Textbooks and Maximizing Potential

One of the biggest struggles for teachers nowadays is the lack of motivation among their students. Luckily, our specialized school for foreign languages doesn’t have that problem. Students specifically attend because they want to study English. They dream of becoming translators, journalists, diplomats – even actors and actresses.

With eager students, passionate English teachers and more lessons per week than a general school (5 compared to 2-3), our school’s potential for success is great. However, the reality is that motivated teachers and students are not enough, if the foundation of the educational curriculum itself is inadequate.

We don’t have enough books for our students. Students have to share them, so no one can take them to complete homework. Using them in class is problematic; in addition to having 2 or 3 students to one book, the books are outdated, disjointed and full of errors. Despite extremely low salaries, teachers try to supplement the books by buying additional materials. New textbooks are desperately needed but this community just can’t afford it.

This grant would allow us to buy new textbooks. With modern, relevant books, grammar and vocabulary lessons would build upon each other, ensuring that language skills are repeated and revised. Lessons based on new textbooks would result in a more cohesive curriculum with defined objectives. Teachers would be able to do their jobs better. Students would have no limits to their progress.

With your help, our school can maximize its full potential and propel its students towards a successful future.

If you can’t donate monetarily, I encourage you to read my colleague’s list of suggestions: If You Can’t Give Money.  Anything you can do to help with this grant project is greatly appreciated!”