Please help our “Pennies for Change” project by completing this information:
Good Morning Friend,
I’d like to tell you about a project that my school, Lee Academy for Gifted Education in Tampa, Florida, has created and ask for your assistance in reaching our goal.
Our school has been reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne and taking part in a study of the Holocaust. As a basis of our study, there were three questions that we wanted to answer:
1. How do we begin to understand the numbers of those people who were destroyed in the Holocaust?
2. How can we take the tragedy of the Holocaust and create something positive that can be far reaching?
3. How can we replace ignorance with knowledge about other cultures and become a part of that culture, even for a short period of time, in order to better understand the culture so we are never a part of creating another genocide?
To answer these questions, we created a project called “Pennies for Change”. Our goal is collect 6 million pennies over the next few months.
How do we plan to raise 6 million pennies?
One penny at a time. Just as it is difficult to imagine 6 million people losing their lives, it is just as difficult to imagine raising 6 million pennies. Our plan involves much of Hitler’s plan, but this time we want to create rather than destroy; build up rather than tear down. Just as Hitler spread his plan exponentially through pyramids of recruits who, in turn, recruited other people the power of words and the latest technology, we must do the same. We chose the penny because we wanted to use an item that most people find valueless, so we can prove the collected value of what we discard without thinking.
How long will it take to raise the 6 million pennies?
Our goal, which is hugely ambitious, is to raise all of the pennies by December 21, but we will continue collecting pennies as long as it takes to reach our goal.
What are we going to do with 6 million pennies?
The results are many:
• We will visually see and conceptually understand the large numbers of the Holocaust. We hope that we can even go beyond the 6 million pennies which represent the number of Jews lost in the Holocaust to 11 million to represent the total number of lives lost.
• We will donate 10% of our pennies to the Florida Holocaust Museum’s Education Department to help further Holocaust education around the state and beyond.
• We will use the pennies over the next several years to help fund trips that teach cultural diversity and understanding. To date, we have a trip to New York City planned for Spring Break to study the arts as a reflection of culture and are planning additional trip over the next couple of years to study additional cultures.
How can you participate?
• Help us by contacting friends and loved one throughout the world by forwarding this email as well as putting the information out on twitter, facebook or any other social media that you use. Contact community newsletters, book clubs, youth organizations, and any other group you can to help us spread the word. Ask that each person continues to spread the word. We want to hear from as many cities and countries around the globe as possible.
• Make a donation in any amount and any denomination at the school by placing it in the appropriate jars in the front lobby.
• Donations can be made payable to Lee Academy for Gifted Education and can be sent to the following address.
Pennies for Change
C/O Lee Academy for Gifted Education
8613 Twin Lakes Road
Tampa, FL 33614
• Donations of $10 or more can also be made through PayPal here.
• Please include your current address along with any note that you feel appropriate concerning your knowledge of or experiences in living through the time period of the Holocaust. We will map the donations we receive and record letters and comments. We will also update the website weekly, so please check back and note our progress.
The Pennies for Change project is one in which every person across the globe can participate in order to never forget the past and to learn about the cultures of the world so we never repeat the sins of the past. Our universal promise as a class comes from Yehuda Bauer, Professor of Holocaust Studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem:
“I come from a people who gave the Ten Commandments to the world. Time has come to strengthen them by three additional ones, which we ought to adopt and commit ourselves to: thou shall not be a perpetrator, thou shall not be a victim and thou shall never, but never, be a bystander.”
Thank you for your support and please join us in our efforts to never, but never, be a bystander.