What is the lesson here?

 Images My friend told me a story today about a letter she received
in the mail.  I told another friend
about the letter and she said that she had received 3 of those too.  Obviously I was missing out on a trend.

 The letter is from kids in public schools, friends kids, who
are going on school sponsored trips. 
Organizations put these trips together such as building housing in Costa
Rica during the kids school break. 
The cost is let’s say $2K per kid but every kid is only allowed to get
$1500 from their parents and then they have to raise the other $500.  The kids are getting their parents
rolodex, basically, and sending off a letter to their contacts and asking for a
donation thus giving the organization a list of possible donors which in turn
can give money to this “trip” and actually get a tax deduction for it.  Obnoxious, yes.  Underhanded, yes.  A life lesson, no.

 I have yet to get one of these letters but if I did, I
wouldn’t give a dime.  First of
all, the idea is to get the kids to raise some money for the trip
themselves.  Dipping into your
parents rolodex is certainly not teaching any life lessons.  How about a car wash, a bake sale (
although not allowed in NYC anymore ), babysitting, paper delivery, part-time
job, barn-raising event at school. 
I’m just thinking out of the box here but come on.

 At the end of the day, I say, shame on the school and the
parents for signing off on this type of fundraising.  The point of raising money for an event is to actually work
at it.  Gathering as an entire
student body would teach the kids how to work together as a unit towards a
common goal, their trip.  Even if
they were just raising the money to give away to the non-profit side of this
organization, just writing a check (actually the kids aren’t writing the check)
isn’t teaching these kids anything. 
It is just another, ask and you shall receive. 

 In many ways, this type of behavior from the school
officials, the organization that is putting this trip together and the parents
who sign off on this behavior is just symbolic of selfish behavior, business as
usual and entitlement.  If we can’t
teach our kids the value of earning a dollar to go on a trip that the majority
of the people in this world don’t have the wherewithal to do, then what are we
teaching them?  How to tap into
somebody else’s rolodex?

Comments (Archived):

  1. rdeichert

    Completely agree, but maybe this is intended to teach the entitlement rolodex skills?

    1. Gotham Gal

      Perhaps. LOL!

  2. Geoff

    I would be as worried about whether the $$ are actually been spent in Costa Rica or even if they ever reach that country. It sounds very similar to the gap year scams that are so prevalent now.Maybe a good lesson would be to get her to analyse who receives what percentage of the money raised.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Not sure how that ends works but the money goes to the kids at the school tocomplete the trip. I would doubt very much that the organization would saythat they reached the quota needed to fill the journey.

  3. Endorphin

    I received this letter two years in a row from the same child of a close friend who attended a summer program with a non-profit organization overseas. Although his volunteer work, learning and social experiences were good, I felt from the beginning that the way he raised the money to go was questionable, and hesitated each time before sending a check. As it turned out, one of the people he approached for assistance became very interested in the program and is now a large new donor to this well deserving group. Maybe this is a new kind of student driven marketplace for connecting philanthropists with charities and causes? And in this case, the kid delivered groceries during the summer before his trips began, which taught him a bit about working for spending money…