The Pay It Forward Challenge
The school serves children ages 3–19 during their hospital stays, whether short or long-term, allowing them to keep up with their assignments from their regular school. Teachers and volunteers work with the students either in their rooms or in a classroom, and the children have access to a media room and a computer lab as well. Though the school is funded through the local school system and a private endowment fund, it rarely receives in-kind donations for supplies and equipment. The school staff is overjoyed to learn about Renee's generosity.
After speaking with teachers, volunteers and some of the students at the hospital school, Renee sets out to put her money to good use. She gives $500 toward the purchase of a new computer for the school. The rest of the money buys books, computer games and gifts for the children. Renee enlists several stores to "pay it forward" as well. Barnes & Noble donates books. Best Buy gives $100 to the school, and Borders gives Renee $200 for books, as well as a discount on her purchases.
Although Renee has contributed to charities in the past, spending time in the hospital school really opens her eyes to the power of giving. "I think that if you could have the opportunity to go and visit those organizations that you're donating to and really get to see the inside of it, it would make you appreciate it more, and want to do more to help them out," she says.