Most of the organizations I write about have a personal and moving story behind their beginning. Today’s organization was born out of an event that impacted many across the country.
When I asked the founder of today’s organization for the story behind its beginnings, Kaitlin Roig told a story that I want to share in her words:
“On the morning of December 14, 2012, inside Sandy Hook Elementary, myself and my entire school endured one of the worst tragedies imaginable. Twenty-six lives were taken too soon, too senselessly, and too brutally. In the midst of this unimaginable loss, which could have resulted in the loss of my own life, I knew I had to find meaning again.
In the wake of the tragedy, I experienced a deep need to create positive change by choosing, love, caring, consideration, compassion, empathy, and hope. In doing so, I made a commitment to teach that to my students—to our nation’s students—by creating an opportunity for them to be a part of something incredibly meaningful through their school curriculum.
As a teacher, I was well aware that teaching a social curriculum often gets overlooked in many classrooms, where the emphasis is so heavily placed on academic testing and more traditional subject areas. I knew the importance and meaningful impact of teaching students how to treat, interact, and empathize with others, and witnessed it being lost in the mix. I experienced first-hand that children need to be taught kindness, caring, compassion, and empathy, and knew, in the moment of the tragedy, that it was part of her responsibility as a teacher to make sure this happened. This is where I got the idea for Classes 4 Classes, Inc.”
The mission of Classes 4 Classes, Inc. is to teach every child in the United States to have a genuine interest in the wellbeing of others, by providing a platform through which to actively engage them in social curriculum. Students will learn kindness by being kind, they will learn to care by caring, and they will learn empathy by being empathetic. The organization enables students to learn to care for others not by talking but by doing, which cultivates a message that our lives are not separate, but connected. When kindness, compassion, love and empathy are actively taught, there is no room for hate.
For teachers, the Classes 4 Classes website outlines a process to engage your class in a caring curriculum. The step-by-step process guides teachers through picking another classroom to adopt through getting the funds to that classroom. Students in one elementary school classroom give a gift that fulfills a need or educational objective of another elementary school class, anywhere in the country. The organization promotes a “pay it 4ward” attitude because the receiving classroom is only able to accept their gift after they have selected another classroom to give to. There are also curriculum ideas for engaging students in learning a social curriculum, not by talking about kindness and empathy but by actually living it.
Phase 1 of the organization launched in April 2013 and they already have 14 classrooms that have launched projects to provide gifts for 14 other classrooms and nine of those projects have already been fully funded! Donors have contributed over $9,000 to fund iPads, Kindles, textbooks, white boards, and projectors for classrooms across the country. Additionally, $7,000 has been donated directly to support the Classes 4 Classes mission.
Kaitlin also told me, “Classes 4 Classes’ ultimate goal is not the dollar amount provided by donors, nor the gifts that that money is funding, but the positive influence that grows out of the donor’s contributions. They allow students to participate in a project and to act on behalf of someone else this has an extreme impact on a young mind. C4C aims to positively impact the social climate through the youngest and most influential members of our society, so that they are more likely prevented from ever experiencing a tragedy like the one that occurred at Sandy Hook.”
How can you help?
- Anyone can support the mission of Classes 4 Classes, Inc. by visiting their website, classes4classes.org. You can scroll through the list of projects and donate directly to your favorite.
- You can also make a donation directly to Classes 4 Classes, Inc. on their website.
- You can also spread the word to elementary school teachers in your community by sharing my blog post.