GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — A group of middle school girls committed $10 each last month and donated the total to a nonprofit that provides resources to families in need worldwide.
“You can donate goats, chickens, food, medicine,” explained 7th-grader Ainsley Herbert about the donation to World Vision International. “I chose to donate a goat and two chickens.”
Ainsley is part of a group called Ten at a Time. Ten friends contribute $10 of their own money (not mom’s) once a month, then one member chooses a cause to donate the money to.
The girls’ group, started by fellow 7th grader Aubrey Bryant last year, is one of 10 chapters under the Ten at a Time umbrella, all of them in Central Texas. The original chapter, started by 10 Georgetown boys, began donating in 2014.
Since then, middle- and high-schoolers have donated $22,000 of their own money to hundreds of organizations in Central Texas and around the world.
“My brother was actually in a Ten at a Time group before me, and I had always wanted to do it once he got in that group,” Aubrey said.
Earlier this year, Aubrey chose Blue Santa to donate to after selecting the Brain Aneurysm Foundation last year. “I personally had a friend that died of a brain aneurysm,” she explained.
In addition to donating the money 10 months out of the year, some groups also volunteer in person.
Making a BiG difference
At least two groups have donated to Brookwood in Georgetown (BiG), a space that provides opportunities for adults with functional disabilities to make and sell pottery, ornaments, baked goods and other items.
“After I took a tour… I was hooked,” said Bart Madeley, a “citizen representative” for BiG.
Madeley was working at a movie theater on the weekends at the time and said he had trouble connecting with new people. Now he gives tours of the facility and shop, showcasing the work of his fellow BiG citizens.
“I found community, I found good friends, and I found a lot of fun along the way,” he said.
Donations help keep the operation running, buying more clay and baking ingredients to keep people like Madeley working.
“My life’s changed for the better because of it,” he said, “and I couldn’t dream of ever being without BiG.”
‘Something good for the world’
With 10 groups of 10 teenagers each, the Ten at a Time groups can donate around $10,000 each year. And the chapters don’t necessarily disband when members age out.
Erin Miller, whose sons founded the first-ever chapter, said the group has had to replace a couple people for the first time this year, but it will continue as students head to college.
The organization is also set to expand into Mexico. A teacher who taught in central Texas is moving there, and she plans to take the idea with her, Miller said.
Ainsley and Aubrey aren’t sure which groups they’re going to choose to donate to the next time it’s their turn, but they both know they’re going to keep it up.
“I feel like I accomplished something,” Ainsley said, “and like I did something good for the world.”