Pay It Forward Club

  • Description: The Pay It Forward Club is a student-led organization which meets on a monthly basis to discuss innovative ways in which to raise money for those less fortunate. Several leaders are elected and take a more proactive position where they are required to do some research, are asked to communicate with club members, and meet with the club sponsor. HOW DID THIS GENERATE: Behind the Beautiful Forevers, a nonfiction book by author Katherine Boo, was added to Seaholm’s English curriculum two years ago, specifically in the AP Language and Composition course. Boo’s describes the hardships and survival tactics of several slumdwellers who reside just feet away from Mumbai’s international airport. They scavenge for food on a daily basis and sort through the garbage thrown out by luxury hotels nearby, which sources their income. With the turn of every page in the book, readers become aware of the slum’s existence and learn that the people who reside there have hopes and dreams - even in a cruel and corrupt society. CURRENTLY WHERE ARE WE: For the past two years, students at Seaholm have completed this anchor text with a heightened global awareness. Last year, several students elected to form a club that would help to sponsor a child in need, from a third-world country. Their mission was to, “Pay It Forward,” and assist the child in their academic and social needs. As a support to help them jumpstart this process, Arun Pai, an advocate and twelve-year member of Children’s Incorporated, (an organization that supplies the child with necessities), spoke to the class about how the program worked, what the organization would do and more importantly, how it would profit the child in need. As a result, the club began to prosper and has already met once a month for the past year. It has gained a significant amount of new members, mostly juniors who have read the anchor text. After almost a year of the club’s fundraising, the students have managed to raise roughly $1200.00, which is enough to support several children for at least one year. Students are still in the process of proposing innovative ideas on how to raise more money for this year and continue to show empathy to people in places where they have never traveled before. The compassion and sincerity from both the juniors and the seniors is quite surprising and should restore anyone’s about this generation of kids. (We have sponsored our first child in India. Her education and daily needs will be covered by the club for one full year!)

    Advisor: Sharan Nayak, snayak@birmingham.k12.mi.us