We have all heard it said that when helping others we should “give a hand up, not a handout.”  While Jesus’ feeding of the masses,  his water-to-wine miracles and  the no strings attached healing provide examples of grace-filled handouts that Christ-followers must pay attention to, we must also pay attention to the lasting, life-giving that comes when we give a hand up.  The grade 2’s in Mrs. Otteson’s¹ class ARE paying attention and will be doing so for quite some time.  Let’s hear about it in the words the students collectively wrote in Language Arts class and then spoke publically to all the classes in the school:

Grade 2O is collecting money for a group called KIVA². Are you wondering what KIVA is?   KIVA is an organization that people can donate to.  KIVA takes the money you donate and loans this money to people who can’t afford to get a loan from the bank because they are too poor.We are trying to raise money to give [micro] loans to the farmers in a country called Kenya. KIVA will give the farmers a small loan.  [as little as $25]

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The farmers will use this money to buy seeds, animals, small tractors, wells, fertilizer, farming equipment and all the things they need to run a farm. As they make some money selling vegetables, eggs, milk, fruits, meat and other things, they slowly pay the loan back.  Once the farmers pay the loan back to KIVA, KIVA will contact us and let us choose who to loan the money to next.  This is like a big circle because the money can get used over and over and over by different people in poor countries around the world.

We want to do this to cultivate community in Kenya and around the world. We can help so many people! We hope to dig deep and cultivate community in our school because we want you to help us….

….Thanks for helping us to help the farmers in Kenya have a better future.  It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

When the classroom donations, the bakesale money and the generous gift from the Edmonton Christian Northeast Parents Council were all sorted, counted and graphed in Math classes, the students knew it was a large gift–$2500!   Connecting with other communities, which had been their focus in Social Studies, Bible lessons about serving and Language Arts lessons which included writing a proposal letter to the principal and thank you notes to various people were all real school work, done to meet the real needs of real people. Real farmers in Kenya.  As many as one hundred of them will get a hand up in the form of a microloan through Kiva. And as the grade 2 students said, the “big circle” will begin!  It’s the kind of learning experience at Edmonton Christian Schools, that we think challenges our students to play their role in God’s story!  

Kiva PC presentation3

Grade 2O showing the cheque from the ECNS Parent Council

¹TKU student teacher Micayla V. also played a key role in this formational learning experience.
² More about KIVA at www.kiva.org
by Brian Doornenbal