WHY #teachHope

#teachHope is a non-profit organization that began as a way to show my first grade students that there is Hope for a better future if we all get involved and do our part. To help them realize this potential all around them, I wanted them to see the good in the world, starting with the people in their own communities. I asked my friends and family to begin posting pictures of nice deeds on Instagram using the hashtag #teachHope, which I would then repost on @teachHope70x7. The 70x7 is meant to remind us that our random acts of kindness must not be occasional but unlimited.

Thanks to this little budding community of volunteers, our classroom quickly became decorated with beautiful pictures of random acts of kindness.

Inspired by the outflow of kindness depicted on the classroom walls, my students decided to become a part of the #teachHope initiative. They felt that making sandwiches for the poor would be the best way to spread the message. We began with 20 sandwiches. Each was placed in lunch bags they decorated with hopeful thoughts and drawings. But as soon as we distributed the lunches, we realized that 20 weren’t nearly enough. With the support of the St. Peter and Paul’s Catholic School administration, the #teachHope project was spread school-wide. Now several classes are involved in making sandwiches , which are then distributed once a month throughout Miami's inner city neighborhoods.

In true spirit of the #teachHope initiative, the kids have recruited their parents, family, and friends to help them distribute lunch bags and water to the homeless in their very own backyard of Downtown Miami. Through the 2013-14 school year, they’ve made over 2,000 lunches for the less fortunate.

And with the early success and enthusiasm for #teachHope, my students and the growing community of volunteers around them are only getting started.