Q&A With Microgrant Recipient Lauren


Karma for Cara Foundation awards microgrants to youth 18 years of age & younger who spearhead exceptional service projects in their communities. Microgrant recipient Lauren (17) from TX used her award to fund a project she calls Ag Literacy. Lauren is passionate about both literacy & agriculture: as a second grader, she struggled to be successful in school, but after an ADHD diagnosis and an intervention thanks to Literacy United, she learned that her brain just works differently than others, overcame her learning difficulties & became an avid reader. As a FFA member, Lauren learned about the role agriculture plays in our world and the importance of advocating for the future of the industry. So she combined the two passions in a project to visit all the second-grade classrooms at an elementary school in her hometown as a Guest Reader every six weeks where she shared an ag-related book with the classes and provided students with a book of their own to take home. 

  1. What inspired you to start this project? I wanted to share my passion of agriculture and love of reading with Decatur ISD second graders with the goal to increase their reading literacy and inspire others to become lifelong learners while building a strong foundational understanding of the relationship between agriculture and the environment, food, fiber, energy, lifestyle, the economy, and technology. I struggled with reading as a kid and knew that others faced similar problems but did not have access to the intervention services that I had as a child. 
  2. While working on your project, what surprised you? One of the most inspiring and surprising things that happened while working on this project was the amount of love and excitement that community leaders, groups, and administrators poured into the project. I received almost $4000.00 in donations and in-kind books, but the biggest outpouring came when I asked these donors to give of their time and help me in reading and distributing the books to the students. Each six weeks, I have asked a new group to come and help me read and I am always overwhelmed with I have 6 to 8 volunteers to help me. This has truly turned into a community project! 
  3. What do you feel you learned from this experience? I have learned a tremendous amount from this project including the generosity of my community and complete strangers who come together to make my little town a better place, that the amount of students in each classroom grows each six weeks making it difficult for teachers to access and teach to the entire class, these kids are falling behind in their reading because of the unstable home environments and are often “lost” in a new classroom. I now understand fully why the school that I chose has the lowest test scores in our district. The one thing that I am most impacted by is the kids excitement to actually OWN a book, of their very own- one they never have to return!
  4. How did Karma for Cara impact your project? Karma for Cara helped fuel this project so that I would have enough books for what started at 65 students to now over 83 students in each classroom. It also allowed me to expand my project to impact all four of the elementary schools in my district by providing funds to purchase books for each library along with a book for each of the teachers classroom, too. I couldn’t have done this without this seed money to allow me to finish the project after donations from the local community, friends, and family. 
  5. How will your project continue to impact others? I truly believe that this will have a lasting impact on the students as they learn about the importance of agriculture in our society but also increase their love of reading because they have their own books to share with their families and read anytime they want to read. These books are books that truly interest them, so I hope they will be able to love and cherish them again and again. While the test scores from the state won’t be in until next year, I have no doubt that I will have encouraged and inspired those that are struggling to keep trying and that they too will be an amazing student one day. 
  6. How many hours did you spend on your project? 75
  7. How many youth volunteers or students were involved in your project? 83
  8. How many total hours did other youth volunteers or students spend on your project? 6