Recently, my wife and I made a small contribution to an elementary school in Bosier City, Louisiana. We found the class through a site called DonorsChoose.org, which lets teachers request donations for specific projects or general needs in their classrooms.
One particular request seemed meant to be: The teacher wanted two Flip cameras to teach podcasting, editing and photo journalism to her class. Of course, this punched my buttons since I work for Cisco and have a Flip camera of my own, which I love; and my wife works in TV news — and was actually born in Bosier City, Louisiana!
So, we made a small personal donation of a few hundred dollars that enabled the school to purchase the cameras and some related tools, and thought little more of it. Then, we got a note back from the teacher with profuse thanks: The students had put the cameras to work immediately, and are creating podcasts regularly as part of their classroom work. And then the other day in the mail came dozens of hand-written Thank You notes from the students in the class. (You can see these in the attached video.)
That little donation gave us a warmer feeling than I can begin to describe. My personal wish is that all of our readers in 2011 will make a small donation or three or four that give similar joy.