Every single dollar you contribute will go directly towards building new primary schools in South East Asia and Central America in 2010.

As some of you know, in May of this year I was introduced to a very young, but ambitious non-profit called Pencils of Promise (PoP). There has never been an organization that felt more right for me to support and get heavily involved with, and so for the last few months PoP has become a huge part and priority in my life.

At Pencils of Promise, we believe that education is a basic human right. We are a passionate community of individuals collectively creating a nonprofit that empowers each person regardless of status or position to make a positive impact on the world. Together, we build sustainable schools, partnerships and solutions to enable basic education for underserved children in the developing world.

We believe education is one of the most crucial causes to support because a basic education can fundamentally change the course of a young person's life in ways we can hardly imagine. One of the most staggering facts our team has come across is that if each of the 75 million children in the world who are currently without education were given a pre-school education, more than 700,000 cases of HIV would be eliminated each year. That’s just one fact amongst hundreds.

In 2009, Pencils of Promise built three sustainable schools in Laos and established a PoP presence in over 20 cities across the country. And, this holiday season, our small team is looking to raise $50,000 with our first ever fundraising campaign, to help kick-start our even bigger plans for expansion in 2010.

Many of us, myself included, have decided to donate our Christmas to Pencils of Promise this year, asking that our friends only give us gifts in the form of a contribution to the PoP holiday campaign. I’ve thrown in the first $50 with a personal goal to raise at least $1500 for the cause. But don't let my short-term goal hold you back from making an even bigger donation!

I hope the Pencils of Promise story touches you a fraction of how much it has impacted me. And, if it has, I ask that you please make a contribution, no matter how small. I can guarantee your donation will make a difference.

A heartfelt thanks for your support and wishing you and yours a very Happy Holiday!

Love, Michelle

** To learn more, please watch the video above or visit: http://www.pencilsofpromise.org/blog/ **

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