Imagine a little girl, eight years old, her eyes bright and curious. Maybe she is your daughter, or your granddaughter.

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You hand her a plain brown box bound by a pure white ribbon, with a simple instruction, “open this, but not until you’re ready.”  She looks at you with wonder then turns her concentration on the box, wishing she could see through the lid.  She furrows her brow and bites the tip of her tongue, trying to decide if she is ready or not.

You know that the gift in the box can change her life.  You know because it changed yours.  Your heart quickens as you watch her turn the box over in her hands.  That she is handling the gift with such care tells you she is ready to open it, but she must decide for herself.  That, you also know from experience.

Finally, she looks at you with a resolve that says, “this gift will be cherished.”  You nod your consent and she carefully tugs at the ribbon until it slips gently away.  Her petite fingers work the edge of the lid loose and she slowly lifts the top.  A wedge of light illuminates her face, starting with her eyes, and spreads to her smile as she opens the box.  Her eyes glint with fascination that turns to astonishment as she first recognizes, then comprehends the gift.

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This is the gift of education.  It is exploration and discovery.  It is self-confidence and empowerment.  It is a childhood unspoiled by adult concerns.  It is opportunity.  And it will change her life.

This is the difference a donor can make.

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