Looking for that last-minute gift for the person who has everything? or won't give you a list? or is just hard to buy for? Check out DonorsChoose.org, a classroom-focused charity to which a friend, Jules Burke, introduced me.
There are bunches of similar charities: Kiva.org, heifer.org, and more. But what I like about DonorsChoose, in spite of Oprah Winfrey being in on the endorsement action, is that classroom teachers are identifying specific materials and resources for specific reasons for their kids. I've supported music, math, and science projects. Just recently I supported a teacher who wanted to buy chess games for his students because of the many things they can learn through playing chess, and not just chess. One of the reasons I like giving certificates for DonorsChoose is that the individual can choose the project to support and reap the benefits of that grateful teacher and those delighted kids.
So if you're stuck this year, find a way to give a gift that allows that difficult-to-buy-for person to pay it forward in a meaningful way. And if you really want to make a difference that goes on and on and on and on, support a teacher who is seeking to find ways to teach her students to love learning, who is working to keep his students in school.
One of those kids in one of those classrooms may be the one who discovers or invents or does something astonishing.
Or one of those kids may stay in school because of what you enabled a teacher to do.
And that is no small thing.