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Ms. Jones-Cooper from Washington DC is requesting Books through DonorsChoose, the most trusted classroom funding site for teachers.

Soul Searching...In Need of a Map!

My students need DNA kits for our African American History class to help scholars get an understanding of their lineage.

  • $1,920 goal

Hooray! This project is fully funded

Hooray! This project is fully funded

My Students

I am a Geometry and African American History teacher at a Tier 1 Public Charter School in SE Washington, DC. On any day, the scholars see drugs, homelessness, mental illness, and violence on a typical walk from the train to the school, or even in their homes, yet in spite of their shortcomings and obstacles, they continue to push towards excellence. Watching them blossom into "Community Advocates" that encourage and uplift one another has been a blessing.

Everyone is a product of their environment, either good or bad; These scholars have chosen to be positive products of one of the toughest environments of Washington, DC.

Everyday I am in awe by their tenacity to succeed as well as their selflessness to help and encourage their fellow scholars. Knowing the challenges they faced ahead, my upperclassman took it upon themselves to become mentors to my sophomore geometry scholars. In class we use an African Proverb that states: If you want to go fast, go alone... If you want to go far, go with others. These scholars are going the distance!

My Project

On a trip to the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. a scholar asked, "Why do some of the bricks have last names and some don't?" when we reached Thomas Jefferson. I explained to the scholars that the bricks with no last name meant that Thomas Jefferson was their original owner and the bricks with a last name meant the individual was owned by someone else originally. With tears in her eyes she asked if that meant that her last name came from people that once owned her family. I replied "possibly", in hopes of not upsetting her more. To see the shock and disappointment in her face was heartbreaking. I asked myself "Why don't they know this? Isn't this American History?" It made me wonder, what other valuable information are these scholars lacking when it comes to the history of people that are their ancestors? So I requested to teach African American History as an elective. Our first project will be DNA kits.

You can't know where you're going, unless you know where you came from!

The DNA kit will provide them with a starting point. By researching their DNA they will be able to identify the region in which their ancestors came from. Too often African American children feel lost or in limbo searching for an identity. These scholars shiver even at the idea of doing a family tree because they know exactly how far they may be able to trace. This course is designed to guide them on their spiritual and intellectual path to self identity, self love, self respect, and self determination and the DNA kit is their personal GPS.

With your donations, these scholars will begin their quest with a stronger sense of self. We appreciate you all.

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11 donors11 donors have given to this project.

This project will reach 25 students.

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Where Your Donation Goes

Materials Cost Quantity Total
AncestryDNA: Genetic Testing • Amazon Business $59.00 25 $1,475.00
Unofficial Workbook: A How-To Manual for Tracing Your Family Tree on the #1 Genealogy Website • Amazon Business $14.50 1 $14.50

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Suggested donation to help DonorsChoose reach more classrooms


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How we calculate what's needed

Total project goal


7 Donors


Donations toward project cost


Donations to help DonorsChoose reach more classrooms


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Project Activity

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