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When we were first learning about ordinal numbers, I made my students make life cycle wheels, so we could practice saying those first few numbers over and over again.

And then Ms. Ann, a former kindergarten teacher who has been invaluable this year in helping some of my students get much needed attention in reading, introduced a few books that dealt with butterflies and bugs.

I have been a member ofECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain since I moved to Vermont in 2006. It was the one place I could take my babies and let them look and learn and not have to be dressed in snow pants in winter. So we’ve been members ever since.

During spring break, I took my youngest back, and we saw butterflies! I was enchanted.

So having already done life cycles, I decided that I needed to take my students to ECHO before the Butterflies, Live! exhibit leaves, and before I lost my class to the end of the year.

I was planning on paying for my students to go out of pocket; although many of the elementary schools make regular visits with PTO support, the high school plays less of the field trip game. So I just decided to try to fund it on my own. And I needed them to see the National Geographic movie that described the life cycle.

But at $8 for students and $10 for the three adults who came with me, plus $3 for everybody to see the movie, the price was getting awfully steep.

I was beginning to get a little frustrated, tapping into every resource I had. And then it happened. Through a generous offer of passes, I was able to get my group in for under $60. And the students saw the movie. We were able to bring a few of our multilingual liaisons, Krishna, Lal and Poe Poh, with us. Ms. Ann, sadly, was not feeling up to the visit. Everybody had a great time exploring, though they thought the butterfly tent was a bit too hot.

I left a very happy, and very grateful teacher.

The donations this organization gets from donors go a long way to helping subsidize those of us who are not the “normal” visitors.

My daughter’s 5th-grade class was there. I remember giving $5 at some point during the year to pay for a trip to ECHO. And I have $5 to spare. But for newly resettled refugees, money is tight. There’s not much disposable income when you have nothing to begin with, and then you have to start paying rent and buying food and clothes in a Western society when you are making wages below the poverty line. And on top of that, you have to pay back the plane ticket the government gave you to get here. So $5 for ECHO just isn’t in the budget. And that’s why I had to take them.

I am so grateful to ECHO for making this possible. And donors help make that happen. So if you’re looking for a place to spend that money you would have spent on a latte this week, I’ve got a great idea of where it could go!

(P.S. Please share widely! It’s important to spread the word about generous moves in the world that make one smile!)

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