What Can You Do With Five Dollars?

What Can You Do With Five Dollars?

Gentle, generous, truthful, kind, and brave. Our school’s mission is planted in those five adjectives. We see braveness in our sports teams, kindness in clubs like Acts of Random Kindness, truthfulness in our Honor Code. But it’s often hard to find an outlet for generosity. It’s hard to give away money that we’ve earned, no matter how much we have.

But a new face on SMP’s campus, Mrs. Lee, is fighting this selfishness.

“In World Religions, we have been studying Buddhism,” she explained. “Buddhists focus on the present and try to practice being mindful and compassionate.” Wanting to spread that compassion, she introduced a new project to a few of her classes.

She handed each student in these classes an envelope, containing a five dollar bill inside.

“My instructions were simple,” she said. “Do some good in the world with these five dollars.” With five days to think about their mission, the students came back with some interesting plans.

Junior Luke Butcher, for example, spent his five dollars on sheet music from the 30s and 40s. With this new music, he performed at nursing homes.

“The residents enjoyed hearing me play music from their time period,” he told me. “And I enjoyed getting to brighten their day!”

Another student, Emily Daly, talked with her family and encouraged them to donate with her. Together, she and her family raised $100 towards the Make-A-Wish foundation, a charity that allows young kids battling cancer to fulfill their dreams.

Many students had trouble deciding just what to do with their money, though. Victoria Doré debated between many organizations before choosing hers.

“It was hard to find something that would be useful and meaningful with only five dollars to give,” she said.

She finally decided on something simple — paying for a stranger’s meal at Chick-fil-A on Valentine’s Day.

“This way, the donation would be both local and immediate,” she figured.

“To be able to look back in my rear view and see the look on that person’s face and how appreciative they were … It allowed me to feel like I made a difference that day,” Victoria added. And that’s truly what generosity is about- making a difference, whether it be five dollars or one hundred dollars.

So the next time you find yourself with some extra money, think about what you could do with it. Instead of pocketing that loose change the cashier hands you, consider letting them keep the change. Though this act might be small and seemingly insignificant, it might open the door to bigger acts of generosity.

As these students showed, with just five dollars, you can truly make a difference.