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A Community Gift

September 29, 2012

From the Field
 Our Resource Center is turning into a real community center. We started by offering resources to children, but The SOLD Project is growing. Not only in the size and scope of what it accomplishes and aspires to, but also in its perceived value and legitimacy within the community.

This has become even more apparent through the efforts of our Sustainability Director, Worn Donchai. He has been building programs to reach out to the families of our students and teach them more skills to help expand their options for sources for income. For example, he works to create programs where he can teach families about the process of silk worm production, how to harvest the silk, and how to work natural dyes.

He also started basic English conversation classes for adults two evenings a week. These classes are highly popular, with almost every desk filled.

So popular, in fact, that the families pooled together their valuable pennies and bought a new whiteboard for him to use!

The value in this kind of resource offered and the connection made is unquantifiable. The families are learning useful skills, yes, but The SOLD Project is also demonstrating its worth to the community. We are building a reputation as a place where people can come and receive help and guidance. Where the families of the children may have been skeptical about us at first, we are earning trust. The SOLD Project is earning its name as a place that’s more than just the scholarship money it provides: it’s a meeting place for community, a place where learning can happen, support is offered, and relationships are made.

Moreover, as the kids begin to learn English skills and grow in their appreciation for the value of education, so too, now are their parents, many of whom never made it past grade school. Having a shared learning endeavor may help parents talk to their children more, and, seeing the value of continued education, encourage their children to stay in school. Higher parental involvement has been shown to have a lot of positive effects on student behavior and performance, including higher test scores, better grades & attendance, more motivation and self-confidence, and improved attitudes about school work. The more we forge such relationships and foster such exchanges, the more the benefits of our endeavors radiate outwards from individuals to families, from families to communities…and maybe, one day, from communities to society.

Change is slow, incremental. Each day is fleeting, each interaction a grain of sand. But even grains of sand can eventually forge a mountain. This is what we’re striving towards.

— Jade Keller
Education Program Manager

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