Today was a school holiday–a time when so many kids we all know are overjoyed to break up the winter routine, glad to have a day away. Such a dichotomy compared to kids in so many other places across the globe where education is just a far off dream. School as privilege as opposed to punishment as so many kids here hold it (I admit to being one of those kids growing up–I had some of the greatest teachers in the universe, but didn’t appreciate it until I saw it all more clearly, in hindsight).
One of the greatest teachers I know is my buddy Steven Hicks. I know firsthand because I was a substitute teacher for a while in Los Angeles, and subbing in Steven’s classroom was an experience unlike the other classes in which I taught. His kids, facing all sorts of challenges outside the school grounds, found such peace and inspiration in the school, and exhibited passion I didn’t see in other elementary classes.
Steven’s sister, Pamela Spycher, another great friend (who I haven’t seen in ages), and awe-inspiring mother, is also an amazing educator, PhD,and professor. They come by it honestly (and other siblings are also involved in education and philanthropy)–their father, Richard Hicks, a retired teacher, sought to continue his educational calling and relocated to Battambang, Cambodia with his wife, Bouen Sum, a native Cambodian. There, he established a school–Association for Knowledge Development (AKD), an NGO–with personal and family contributions. In 2007, the first AKD School closed due to lack of funding. In order to reopen the school, Steven and Pamela formed Classrooms Without Borders.
About the Organization
Classrooms Without Borders works in partnership with communities in developing countries to provide free and sustainable education with world-class standards. By providing high quality education to children, adolescents, and young adults throughout the developing world, we aim to contribute to the creation of a more balanced world where all students can benefit from the same opportunities to achieve their full potential. Through these educational opportunities, we further aim to nurture relationships between students, educators, and community members.
We approach our work in three main ways:
- Build School Infrastructure: We collaborate with local entities to construct environmentally sound, state of the art schools.
- Train and Support Educators: We provide on-going and intensive training and support to teachers and school directors.
- Establish Networks: Establish reciprocal teacher exchange programs between educators in the U.S. and developing nations.
Your support for this life-changing organization will go farther than you imagine:
- $200 funds a teacher for a month
- $150 educates a student for a year
- $40 “keeps the lights on” in a school for a month
Study is free for students, and there are over 500 enrolled.
Make a difference, today…and consider what start-up, grassroots movement you can initiate in the world.