about the author
Youth Outreach Intern
Elizabeth Ratchford is a senior at DePauw University in the United States studying Anthropology and Communications.
Sixteen students decided to change the world. Their teachers decided they could do it. Find out how Freerice is not only changing the lives of those who receive food--it's transforming the lives of those who play.
Donna McCulloch has been the director of the Haywood Middle Academy for five years. Located in Waynesville, North Carolina, the academy focuses on helping at risk youth become positive, productive citizens. To the teachers at Haywood, “educating the whole child” is the answer to transforming students lives—and we just found out they've been doing this with Freerice.
One day, Danyiele Capps, a teacher at Haywood, challenged students to find a creative way to develop their math skills. One student returned the next morning with Freerice, excitedly letting the rest of the class know the game wouldn’t only help with math—it would feed people.
The class grew excited about the chance, and quickly began accumulating rice.
According to Donna, the students “understand the concept of what they are doing when they donate rice to feed a person. This has made them see how that can have an impact on another part of the world.”
Some students see the opportunity to donate rice for correct answers as an incentive to perform better. Amanda, who has created a poster to chart her grain-giving, says she’s getting better at math because she “wants to feed a whole lot of people.”
Not only has Freerice been a tool for these students academically, Donna says it’s helping them learn what it is to have concern for others. Many of the students have clear needs of their own, but have come to realize there are people around the world in even greater need. For the students, a chance to give back while improving their skills helps them rise from their situations and gain perspective.
The students and their teachers aim to feed 500 children this year through Freerice—and they are well on their way. Accumulating thousands of grains a week, teachers allow students to use any free time they have to log on and play.
Using Freerice, these students have found a way around the age old problem of not being in a position to give. They may not be on the ground in Haiti, or Pakistan, but they are at their computers working together to make a difference.
We will keep following them as they work toward their goal, but until then, use their story to inspire your students. Your students can change lives, and it can start in your classroom.