Tuesday, May 27, 2008

{wedding generosity} gift registries give back

I am always so impressed by the generosity and creativity of the brides and grooms I am lucky enough to work with. Recently I have been noticing that many couples are opting for less traditional registries and there are so many great ideas for gifts that go far beyond Tupperware! I would like to share one of these now, with more to come in the future. I hope it can be a source of inspiration for couples looking for a way to share the happiness of their big day with a new kind of gift registry.

Alternative Registry Idea #1: Sponsor a Student in a Poverty-Stricken Country
Lizzy + Tom, February 2009

"Tom and I have decided to have our guests donate to the School of St. Jude in lieu of more traditional wedding gifts. I discovered the School of St. Jude while working in Tanzania. The School of St. Jude is a primary and secondary school that is designed to educate the brightest but poorest students in the Arusha region of northwest Tanzania. Students must test into the school and once they are accepted, their school feeds, room and board are 100% paid for by private sponsors. Education, uniforms, transport to and from school, and room and board for a primary or secondary student at the School of St. Jude costs less than $1,000 per year. The model is both sustainable and personal in that students are financially supported by specific individuals and donors have full transparency into where their donation is going. Powerful relationships between student and donor often form and academic excellence is a cornerstone at the School of St. Jude.

I have supported the School of St. Jude through 3 Peaks 3 Weeks and we visited the school together for the 3 Peaks finally in January 2008. We now sponsor a young student named Salome. We get regular updates on Salome's progress and she hand-writes us beautiful notes. We really feel connected both to the school and to Salmone.

Having lived near the School of St. Jude, worked with their teachers and students, and received Salome's report cards, I'm confident that our donation is driving positive change. Tom and I are excited that our guest generosity will be used to help fund a student's education at the School of St. Jude for one year or more! We think it will be fun for everyone involved in our wedding to collectively jump start a Tanzanian student's education and then watch the student's progress over time. To ensure the student's wellbeing, Tom and I will pick up where our wedding group leaves off by supporting the student through the end of their education. We hope that by introducing our guests to St. Jude as supporting a student as a collective group, we inspire others to support St. Jude in other capacities."

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