My favourite back-to-school activity was always the summer recap essay.

Year after year, our first task as we began school was to write what we experienced over the summer months to share our lives with our classmates and teachers. Everyone does it, right? Maybe you still have some of those homework assignments tucked away in a memory box, recounting long pool days, backyard barbecues and family vacations. You might even go into the summer break with the expectation of what you could do to write in your next summer essay, seeking out special moments to impress your peers with when school started up again. Those essays taught me valuable lessons about looking at the world and reflecting on life that I carry with me today.

When it comes to my parents, I am most like my dad. We have the same olive skin, the same thick brown hair, the same taste in music – and we both love to travel. He is the reason I was able to enjoy writing those back-to-school papers every year because he always took me on adventures worth sharing. He taught me how to find the magic in scary, unknown places and how to make connections with those I first perceived as ‘strange’ because we shared nothing in common. I learned to love art that I couldn’t understand as we walked museums across Europe, and I tasted great foods that at first seemed like the grossest thing on the menu. My journeys with my father taught me to be comfortable being uncomfortable. He showed me that not only did I have a lot to offer the world, the world had a lot to teach me. Traveling teaches you about the capacity of humans to create things that will transform your existence and develops within you a measure of kindness that will impact all of your future actions.

And that is exactly why the education of children in India matters. 

Our Good Shepherd students are now well into a new school year. I doubt they are writing the same back-to-school essays as I did growing up. They will not have spent their summer months exploring different countries or going on adventures with their families. But that doesn’t mean that their eyes haven’t seen things worth sharing, or that they don’t have creativity and wisdom to enrich the world around them. Year after year, our classes are filled with kids that have huge dreams and unique talents and powerful stories that push them towards the goal of getting their education. Our world needs their voices. Education gives them the opportunity to make a difference and thrive. And that is exactly why our #GetSchooled campaign exists, to make sure our Indian students get a chance to make their mark on our world.

  • Adopt a Teacher — $200 could provide a teacher’s salary for a month.
  • Build a Playground — $40 could buy new balls and cricket bats, new slides and swings.
  • Chip in for School Supplies — $25 would guarantee there’s plenty of notebooks, pens, pencils, crayons, construction paper, and personal chalkboards for an entire school year.

All of these gifts have a significant impact when a school is struggling to stay open or to pay its staff: You are affirming to each student and teacher that their contribution to the world matters, you are having their back as they attempt to defy a corrupt system that wants to keep them from equality, and you are joining forces with a global community of givers that work together to bring dignity and joy into the forgotten places.

Doesn’t that sound like a story you want to be involved in?