Teaching kids to “do good” in their community

Maxine Bergman started out as a teacher at Mandarin Middle School who wanted to give her students fun and exciting opportunities to help others. To do this, she  developed Good On The Go, a non-profit organization that  provides middle school kids with the opportunity to do good deeds in the Jacksonville community.

Her journey began in January 2013 when Bergman read about a bus in California that drives a group of volunteers around to perform good deeds in their community. She instantly knew this was exactly what she wanted her students  to experience.

“I Googled ‘do-good buses in Florida’ and there weren’t any, so I thought, ‘well middle school kids should do good things’ and that’s kind of how it all started,” said Bergman.

Middle school kids preparing to sing carols at a retirement home.  Photo Credit: Good On The Go
Middle school kids preparing to sing carols at a retirement home.
Photo Credit: Good On The Go

Parent involvement was the key  that set Bergman’s idea rolling in the right direction.

“I sent an email to my  students’ parents saying that I had a crazy idea that I wanted to share with them,” said Bergman. “On January 11th, 2014, I invited them to come to a meeting if they were interested. 32 people showed up to the first meeting, and over 40 parents attended the second meeting just two weeks later.”

Parents drove their kids from one good deed to the next until Bergman took her idea to One Spark 2014 with the mission to obtain an official Good On The Go bus.

The Schultz Center for Teaching & Leadership recruited Bergman to be apart of its One Spark venue, #EdSpark, accelerating her opportunity to meet the people who would be able to jump start the organization and build a solid foundation.

After much help and advice from the Schultz Center, parents and local celebrity Al Emerick, who taught Bergman’s students how to pitch Good On The Go during the festival, the organization embraced  #EdSpark with enthusiasm and determination to obtain the bus.

Their mission was accomplished!

Students getting ready to preform good deeds in their community.  Photo Credit: Good On The Go
Students getting ready to preform good deeds in their community.
Photo Credit: Good On The Go

The organization received attention from throngs of people during One Spark, including from Gayle Peele,  a local philanthropist , who donated the bus to Good on the Go.

“[Gayle] told me she wanted to give Good On The Go a bus that was donated to her,” said Bergman. “She also offered the organization her 50C3 non-profit status to get started.”

Good On The Go has sped to success and is ready to take the next step in their journey  thanks to:

  • Parents and students working diligently and dedicating countless volunteer hours building a concept
  • The #EdSpark venue exposing Good On The Go to thousands of people during One Spark 2014
  • The people who helped fill the gaps in the foundation of the organization

The mission for 2015 is to acquire $150,000 to hire an employee and renovate the bus, as well as find funding so that kids can do good deeds in the community once a month at no cost to their parents.

Middle School students are helping take care of the animals at the Jacksonville Zoo.  Photo Credit: Good On The Go
Middle School students are helping take care of the animals at the Jacksonville Zoo.
Photo Credit: Good On The Go

“Ultimately we want these kids, when they’re adults, to go out into the world and give back to their communities because it’s the right thing to do,” said Berman.

Eventually, the organization will have a fleet of buses across the nation teaching kids there is always something that can be done for others.

To learn more about Good On The Go and its growing success, visit its website and like it on Facebook.

 

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