Guest Post by: Mrs. Liss and her traveling Tolerance Kids
Living in projects, passing from homeless shelter to homeless shelter, shifting from family to family, doesn’t leave much room for travel and adventure. After twenty years of teaching and not reaching out to travel out of my own comfort zone, I was teaching a class who didn’t want to just learn what I was teaching, but wanted to get out of their neighborhood and experience what they were learning. They weren’t satisfied with simply hearing about the Holocaust, they wanted to see what they Museum of Tolerance could show them.
Knowing that this class was my chance to step even further out of the box, we began to make plans….How can I get my students out of their reality and into my passions, it only seemed right that one day we would achieve the ultimate trip, a trip 7 hours away to The Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. We began to discuss how the Original Freedom Writer teachers were able to experience trips and Alex suggested first, “Our parents could drive us to Los Angeles!” Thinking of riding closed up in a car with a bunch of 4th graders for over 7 hours wasn’t the most appealing trip ever and luckily I was blessed with a totally supportive principal at the time. Fundraising began in ernest! We started a raffle with a Game Boy system as first prize. We wrote letters to receive more raffle prizes, started selling pizza slices after lunch. We created Tolerance Kids garlic dip and sold hundreds of packets. Money was rolling in! We raised so much money that first year that we were able to fly to LA and back! We even raised enough money to take 4 kids to Tennessee to see the Paper Clip project!
Since that first year, our annual Tolerance Trip has been something that every class wants to be a part of. Last year was the first year in 8 years that we were unable to raise the money. The disappointment and shattering of dreams is something that I worked even harder to not have happen again. This year our trip will be June 18-19th! Together, my Tolerance Kids will once again travel out of their project area and realize that their dreams can come true! Since beginning our Tolerance Trips, they have started our Bandage Project and numerous other Tolerance Projects. Traveling and making this trip a reality has shown my students that they can do anything anyone else can do. Our next challenge is to complete our 1.5 million bandage challenge, write a book about it and travel to Washington, DC to share our book just like the Original Freedom Writers did! One day Tolerance Kids will be a name that everyone knows for the group of kids who changed the world!
About Lisa from Tolerance Kids
Whether it is raising salmon, steelhead, chinchillas or other critters, or completing a 50 state college project, Mrs. Liss teaches her students to think outside the box and opens her classroom limited only by their imaginations. Her classroom has welcomed survivors of the Holocaust, authors, Olympic Champions, local celebrities, and legislatures among others. Through the years, her students have created gardens, written plays, developed life-long friendships, helping the homeless and more. Her 27 years teaching in low-income schools has given her the chance to teach about diversity first hand as her teaching stresses Tolerance. Her education includes a BS from the University of Houston and a Master’s from the University of Texas. Her Tolerance Kids Bandage Project is a work in progress as they strive to honor the 1.5 million children who were killed during the Holocaust. Please contact the Tolerance Kids at 700 Southgate Dr. Sacramento, Ca 95815.