by Efrén Paredes, Jr.
The past week has been challenging. It seems like I haven't had a moment's rest.
Having to prepare assignments for my University of Michigan weekly creative writing workshop, working on various social justice campaigns, raising funds for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer campaign and funds to help a Detroit fifth grade classroom purchase a new laptop and printer, have all been mentally taxing and time-consuming.
This Saturday, October 3, 2009 I will walk in the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk at the G. Robert Cotton Facility at 1 PM along with other prisoners who helped raise money for the campaign. In all we raised $1,046. That's a lot of money considering prison work assignment pay prisoners less than $50 per month on average.
I am pretty excited about my contribution to help purchase the laptop and printer for the Detroit elementary school classroom. I know the children who will benefit from it will be very grateful. Their school district could not afford these items, so the teacher was compelled to independently raise funds to acquire them. The teacher will use the laptop and printer as tools to teach ESL students how to make comic books.
According to the teacher, ""Making comic books can inspire an emerging ESL learner to spread his or hers artistic wings. They will learn to construct and understand the structure of the English language at their own pace. Reading aloud published work will instill a confidence to teach themselves to self correct their own grammatical errors."
She added, "Constructing comic books is a great role model for demonstrating parts of a story, defining characters, recognize setting, and coming up with some crazy plots and far-out solutions. Showing my students what the power of words can do for written text helps them develop an incredible eye for detail on their own writing. After a few months my shy students are no longer shy but are then replaced with imaginative artist and engaging authors."
The money I helped raise will be used to assist finding a cure and prevention to breast cancer, and also empower the lives of young people in school. I hope that it will also inspire others to help people in need. All our lives are enriched when we make even one contribution to helping make the world a better place.