St. Vincent de Paul students multiply their blessings

Friday, May. 03, 2013
St. Vincent de Paul students multiply their blessings + Enlarge

SALT LAKE CITY — This year, Saint Vincent de Paul School’s 2nd-grade teacher, Rhea Hristou, was blessed as a recipient of a grant from the McCarthey Dressman Foundation. The grant allowed Hristou to create an iPad learning station in her classroom that would complement her "Pay it Forward" project.

For this project Hristou challenged her students to become venture capitalists to generate funds for an African orphanage run by the Sisters of Charity in Tanzania. This year, the class was able to use their new iPad technology to further enhance this project.

Hristou has been doing this project since the spring of 2010. As part of this project, Hristou gives each 2nd grader in her class $5. The children are asked to use the $5 as a "seed" to begin some type of business venture. Each student is asked to multiply their money at least threefold by the end of the month. Some of the children chose to sell homemade cookies, dog walking , do chores, or make jewelry to sell. At the end of the month, they present their business and its results to the class.

2013’s Pay it Forward Project generated more than 10 times the amount of the original $5 investment. The 27 students generated a total of $1,525 from the original $135 investment this year.

Using various iPad applications this year, Hristou was able to use technology to improve this project. iPad applications were used to teach geography, and the cultures of Africa.

The students even used an application to Skype Sister Felicia Mazzola of the Sisters of Charity and ask her specific questions regarding the school in Africa.

In addition, the children were able to e-mail Sister Katherine in Tanzania to ask questions about African, the culture, the children and the orphanage.

The children were able to share their accomplishments and communicate their donation of $1,525 to the Tanzania orphanage.

This "Pay it Forward" project has emphasized the importance of giving back to the less fortunate. Furthermore, with the new technology, the 2nd-grade students were able to get hands-on experience in running a business and expand their knowledge and awareness of the world around them.

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