Wow-Students connects Blaine County nonprofits, teachers, and students to create unique generosity experiences for all K-12 classrooms. When individuals recognize that their generosity makes a difference, a stronger, more vibrant community will emerge.
The Harvard Graduate School of Education puts it best; “how might we construct a process that motivates young people to contribute to others and their communities in ways that are authentic and meaningful and that promotes in them a greater appreciation of and commitment to others.”
At Wow-Students, we believe It is essential that a generation emerges who understand this, who feels a sense of responsibility to all community members and seeks to address problems that are not yet solved. We believe that in the tide of a time when “too often, today’s culture sends young people messages that emphasize personal success rather than concern for others and the common good” it is critical to empower youth to positively impact their communities, that we teach them that their voice matters and they not only have the power, but the responsibility to make a difference.
How we meet that challenge
At Wow-Students we want students to understand the power of generosity and the role that nonprofits play in sustaining our community. Consequently, we immerse students in all angles of the philanthropic experience: time, talent, and treasure.
Wow-Students partners with over 40 local nonprofits offer service projects for all classrooms in the Wood River Valley. These hands on experiences must impact the quality of life in Blaine County and have a demonstrable outcome during the school year.
When a class participates in a Wow Project, Wow donates 25 dollars on behalf of each student to the nonprofit. Last year, participating nonprofits presented over 50 projects to local classrooms, and as a result, students collectively participated in over 8,000 hours of community service and were able to contribute over $50,000 to support nonprofits throughout the valley.
In Just Four Years . . .
Our Organization has:
• partnered with 42 nonprofits serving Blaine County.
• engaged over 50% of Blaine County’s 4,000 students in generosity experiences each year.
• engaged over 8,100 students in generosity experiences to date.
• worked with students and teachers in all 12 public and private schools in the County.
Our Students have:
TIME – invested over 30,000 hours in community service.
TALENT – participated in 243 generosity projects sponsored by our nonprofits.
TREASURE – directed over $210,000 in gifts to our local nonprofits.
VOICE – provided a unique perspective to further each nonprofit’s mission.
What’s New for 2016-2017
Pay it Forward Initiative
In November, Wow-Students conducted its first Pay-It-Forward initiative with 11th graders at Wood River High School. Each students was given 30 dollars to use towards an act of kindness for someone other than themselves. Students were asked to document and reflect on their experience in some form. The results were an inspiring reminder of how good it feels to help others and how thoughtful teenagers are.
We are excited to announce that Elizabeth Herrick, who formerly served as a Wow-Students Board member, has joined our generosity task force as an employee. Elizabeth will focus much of her work on Wow’s fundraising efforts, and will work alongside Louise as a liaison between the school’s and nonprofits. Elizabeth brings with her over a decade of experience in education and a passion for making the next generation the most compassionate and generous yet.