By Marilyn Perlyn
The OCHO Project: Read for a Need(Opportunities for Children to Help Others) exposes children to the joys of reading while teaching them that they can help others less fortunate than themselves. It is an elementary school program in which students embark on a 6-8 week literacy journey that is infused with eighteen character traits and service learning.
Children are asked several months later if they would like to share a book with another child in a different part of the world. Each year, donated books are brought to a different country by Marilyn Perlyn, founder of the OCHO Project. Books have already been donated to kids in need in Tanzania, India, Vietnam, Laos, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Kenya, and Namibia. In 2014 we will visit China!
A power point presentation of the lives of children in the recipient country is then sent to each participating school in an effort to connect students with the greater world around them and to give students an opportunity to have "face to face engagement" with the children they helped. Students experience empathy and learn to help themselves while helping others!
Grant funding is now available for select elementary or middle schools that demonstrate a commitment for whole school participation and support from both the administration and staff. We hope that you will join us on our literacy journey!
Comments from educators:
“The OCHO Project was a huge success and the students were so excited to have books of their own to take home and read. More importantly, they learned valuable lessons in trustworthiness, kindness, and responsibility.” Lisa Peart, elementary school Guidance Counselor
“It has been my goal to create a culture of readers at my school. I believe with the help of the OCHO Project we have givens the students the tools they need to read and be a community of people who give to others. The OCHO Project has changed our school!” Linda McMurtrie, elementary school Media Specialist
“I teach 120 6th and 7th graders at New Renaissance Middle School and my students have been greatly affected by the OCHO program. My children have both grown academically and emotionally. Each child has read somewhere between 5 to 30 books. All of my students have cultivated a more enthusiastic attitude towards reading independently. And most of all, I have seen a new maturity in kindness and compassion towards helping others. “ Bonnie Greene, 6th and 7th grade reading teacher