Monday Morning Questions

This week I walked to the Honors College with many things on my mind:  Why was it so cold? Where is the nearest place on campus that they sell coffee? What would I write in my blog today? Who was going to be our speaker during class? When can I have lunch?

Obviously these were all of the utmost importance to a college student headed to class without caffeine or much time for breakfast. However, all of these thoughts left my mind as soon as I walked through the door of the lobby and saw a donation box. Our donation box, filled with school supplies. I was shocked, to say the least. To my knowledge, we hadn’t advertised this collection anywhere. All we had done was put a box with a sign over it in a well-seen location. This got me thinking: is it really that easy?

The supplies collected in the Honors College Lobby in one week (Photo by: Shelby Register 2012).

With that positive experience in my mind, I headed to the Marshall Center with a fellow student to warm up, eat some lunch, consume some caffeine, and start on my blog entry (Successfully addressing four of my questions from before class). As soon as I sat down, I realized, maybe it really is that easy. People want to help others. Students know they should give back to those less fortunate; it’s just the matter of how they do it. With that thought in mind, I knew that I really had to start getting the word out about the project. This time next week, both the Honors and USF e-newsletter should have blurbs about our collection box in the Honors Lobby. I hope stampedes of Bulls from all across the campus hurry to ALN 241 to drop off supplies. I look forward to seeing another collections box filled to the brim.

The last thought I want to leave you with is something we found in the bottom of the collections box this week. In that box there were notebooks, pencils, markers, and other supplies, but what actually struck me the most, is the coin we found at the bottom. A dime is only worth 10 cents. It won’t allow us to buy a notebook or a set of markers or a pack of paper. But, it will allow us to buy one pencil. So that dime is one child’s education. That dime is one child’s future. That dime is one child’s hope. Are you honestly going to tell me you don’t have a dime to spare?

The dime that will change a child's life (Photo by: Shelby Register 2012).

P.S. Curious about my last question from this morning that I didn’t address (Who was going to be our speaker during class?)? Head on over to to learn about the second half of our class’s project.

About Shelby R.

Shelby Register is in her third year at the University of South Florida. She is pursuing a Bachelor's of Science degree in Chemistry and is participating in the Honors College program. After her graduation, she hopes to go to medical school. In her free time, Shelby likes to volunteer, travel, watch the Food Network, and try out new recipes in the kitchen.
This entry was posted in Awareness campaigns, Charity, Children, Education, School Supplies for Afghan Children, USF Honors College and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Monday Morning Questions

  1. Luke Heikkila says:

    poignant write up…thanks for sharing. In April I will be going to Afghanistan, embedding as a journalist with a group of soldiers who are training Afghans in some agricultural techniques that will, along with education, go a ways in presenting them and their families with the hope of a better future. I will encounter dozens, if not hundreds of Afghan children along the way. I want to bring something with me to share with them, until just now I didn’t know what that was going to be. I know now, thank you. Follow my journey at

    • Liisa Hyvarinen Temple says:

      Luke – thanks for finding the time to comment. I am the instructor for this class and my husband was deployed to where you are headed to in 2009 and 2010. If you get the chance, read this link on how this whole project started. It’s amazing that one little Afghan kid who asked for a pen lead to a grassroots school supplies drive that then turned into a college level honors course in military affairs and charity work.

      I will have the students follow your journey – it fits perfectly with one of the learning modules about news media and news coverage. Safe travels. Liisa

      • Luke Heikkila says:

        so interesting, thank you.
        let me think on this a day or two, between my community of colleagues (the PBS station in St. Paul) my church community, neighbors, whatnot there is bound to be something I can do to multiply the efforts. Again, thanks for sharing your story and thank you for offering to share my story with your students. Regards, Luke

      • Liisa Hyvarinen Temple says:

        I was intrigued by the last name. I am Finnish orginally 🙂

      • Luke Heikkila says:

        My father and grandparents, though all born in the State were Finnish. There’s a large pocket of Finns in northeastern Minnesota. I still have some roots up there, still able to take a couple good saunas (sow-na) a year. FYI…I just reblogged one of your student’s posts. I’m knew to wordpress so I’m hoping it turned out alright. Nice to have made the connection with you and your organization. Luke

      • Luke Heikkila says:

        Sorry to bug you again…not a stalker, seriously.
        I told my employer about wanting to set up a school supply drive. My original intent was that I would simply be asking for a few items, 200 pens to pass out to children I may encounter. I am now thinking that if this drive takes off I may need to ship items; if this does get bigger than I anticipated where can I send the supplies? Is there an address in FLA or AFG that accepts them? Please feel free to email me at lheikkila at Thanks again for inspiring me to act. Luke

      • Liisa Hyvarinen Temple says:

        When you are ready to ship, get in touch with us and we will give you the APO address of a US troop in Afghanistan who has requested supplies and has an upcoming humanitarian mission where those supplies will get distributed. The large flat rate APO boxes currently cost $13.45 per box to ship. A box fits about 700 pens – or you can fit 22 notebooks in a box. We do not have extra funds to pay for your shipment – hopefully your organization can underwrite it. Or if your employer wants to make a donation to our shipping fund, we can run the expense through our foundation and your employer gets a tax deductible gift. If you need to email us directly, use this address:

      • Liisa Hyvarinen Temple says:

        and yes you would be shipping directly to Afghanistan. Cost to send to Afghanistan is cheaper than to send to Florida because of the special rate for deployed soldiers.

  2. Luke Heikkila says:

    Here’s a copy of a message that will go out to the entire staff of Twin Cities Public Television next Wednesday. I’m hoping to gather enough supplies to be able to ship 2 boxes to AFG. The supply drive will be open from 21Feb to 19Mar.

    Pens. I cannot remember the last time I bought a pen, yet they are everywhere. They are just a part of my life, threads making up the fabric of my day. If I were to ever clean my car I could bet you that I would find half a dozen of them. As I type this email, I see 6 pens and 2 pencils on my desk. If I couldn’t find anything to write with at my desk I could easily walk 87 steps to a shelf in the mailroom that has no less than 300 pens, pencils and markers. My family’s two cats have probably batted 10 of them under couches, chairs and the refrigerator. To cut to the chase we, and likely our children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews will likely never be without a pen, pencil, or paper.

    In April I’ll be traveling to Afghanistan to cover the story of a group of Minnesota National Guard soldiers in Zabul Province. As I’ve been researching I found an organization called School Supplies for Afghanistan Children. SSAC collects school supplies and sends them to military bases in Afghanistan. Troops on those bases distribute the school supplies to children as they are in the community, on patrols, meeting with Elders, or holding outreach seminars. I have placed a box in the mailroom and will be collecting new or lightly-used school supplies to send to Afghanistan through SSAC.


    Spiral notebooks, pencils, pens, small whiteboards, markers, erasers, chalk, crayons, metric rulers, pencil sharpeners, dull tipped children’s scissors

    I’m hoping to gather enough supplies to be able to send a couple of boxes on to Afghanistan. I will also bring a few hundred pens with me so that I’ll be able to give the pens away as I’m out on patrol with the Zabul Agribusiness Development Team.

    More information about SSAC

    School Supplies for Afghanistan Children was born in 2009. Rex Temple, a Marine, was serving his 4th tour in Afghanistan. While on patrol a group of children approached his unit. This was common-place. Most of the children asked for chocolate and candy. One child asked Temple for his pen. Temple made mention of this to his wife, a grassroots effort began and to-date the Temples have sent thousands of pounds of school supplies to Afghanistan. We can all help add to that total. Here’s a link.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s