Karma for Cara Foundation awards microgrants to youths 18 years of age and younger who spearhead exceptional service projects in their communities. Microgrant recipient Isabella, a 4th grade student from Florida, turned her beneficial experience from the Bookmark Buddies program offered at her school into inspiration for her own project. Isabella used her award to create a peaceful outdoor reading nook located in a quiet area near her school’s garden. The previous setup was in the school’s great hall which was often noisy due to school visitors, staff, and student traffic. The reading nook not only serves as a space for the BB program, but it also created a service-learning project for Isabella’s peers.
- How many volunteers participated in your project? How many hours did it involve? About 120 volunteers (including students/teachers/parents) participated in the project.
- What did you learn from this experience? The main lesson learned is that it is very fulfilling to dedicate time to help others and to create a project from scratch until it is finished. Serving others, especially those in need, is a joy.
- How will your project continue having an impact in the future? This project will continue to have an impact in the future. The outdoor reading nook for the Bookmark Buddy program (which supports below-grade students with learning challenges in reading) will benefit students in many years to come.
- Overall, summarize how your project was completed and how you think it went. All the materials necessary for the completion of the project were purchased and delivered to the school (concrete benches, mosaic tiles, mosaic nipper, and mosaic sticky mesh.) Isabella and the other students worked hard to creating the mosaic decorations for the benches in the art center, under the precious guidance of art teacher Cindy Bohn. Students selected mosaics themes to display (Florida-native animals, insects and flowers) in order to create an attractive and enjoyable reading nook. Keywords such as “love,” “friendship,” and “peace” have been included in the designs. Finalizing the mosaics was a time-consuming process. As soon as all patterns were complete, the tiles were grouted on top of the concrete benches. In parallel, the school submitted a permit request to the school district to anchor the benches to the ground, which is preferred for safety reasons.
- How was the Karma for Cara microgrant helpful in the completion of your project? This project would not have happened without the generosity of the Karma for Cara Foundation. The microgrant helped Isabella and the school purchase all the materials necessary for the completion of the project. Isabella, the students, teachers, school administration and parent volunteers are so grateful to Karma for Cara!