At a school visit the other year, a 4th grader came to me and held out his hand. In it was a dime. "This is for you," he said. "For coming to our school." So sweet and yet how could I possibly take his money?
Hello? It was a dime. The answer was obvious. I didn't have to keep it. "I'll give it to the March of Dimes," I promised. He knew what that was because his class had just read Blue and done polio related studies.
The March of Dimes is a non-profit founded in 1938 by Franklin Roosevelt to benefit the research and treatment of polio. Thousands of children benefited. We all did because the money went a long way toward funding vaccine research. January 3 is its birthday.
At first they called it The National Foundation For Infantile Paralysis. But say that three times fast and you'll realize how catchy The March of Dimes sounds. I have a small collection of dimes on my desk - each of them sent to me by the March of Dimes in separate envelopes - peeking out through plastic windows like little eyes - begging to be acknowledged. With them come address labels and notepads as an incentive for me to give back to the foundation.
I could just drop the dimes into my change purse and spend them on whatever. Except that I can't. Like the dime in the 4th grader's hand they just feel destined. Today's date reminds me that it's time to click on over to The March of Dimes website and make a contribution.
Nowadays, since polio is no longer a problem in the U.S., The March of Dimes works to eliminate birth defects and premature births. Obviously a worthy cause - in case you're looking for ways to start your New Year out with a really great feeling.