My name is Ian Weiss and I am a 5th grade student at Lee Elementary in Dallas, Texas. Earlier this school year, when our class read R.J. Palacio’s Wonder (a book about a child with facial differences), we decided to start a challenge based learning project (CBL) so we could impact lives by donating to Smile Train.
Our first project was writing persuasive letters, which our teacher, Ms. Pjetrovic, sent out to her friends. In a few weeks our letters raised enough to fund one cleft surgery. We felt so good about funding a surgery that we set up a fundraising page on the Smile Train website and increased our goal to raising enough for twelve new smiles!
Our next project was a cookie sale at our school. We raised $658 at the school and another $61 when I took all of the leftover cookies and sold them over that weekend.
Ms. Mita, Director of Kinwest Montessori Academy, saw our fundraising page and she was impressed with our efforts. Ms. Mita generously offered to match all our fundraising totals if I would go and speak to her students about Smile Train. I was so happy! When my class found out about the matching funds from Kinwest Montessori they went CRAZY!!!!!!
After months of hard work my class raised a total of $4,538 – including the generous match. Our class had raised enough money for 18 Smile Train sponsored surgeries! Finally, our CBL was complete. We were very proud of our achievements and the impact we made on 18 children's lives. Our CBL was eye-opening to the problems that children face around the world and our class realized that WE can make a difference!