Dear Google: an opportunity I hope you can’t refuse

I have a little project for you—a chance to do some real good in the world.

I teach high-school English. I know that my students need to read as much as possible, but I also know that reading alone will not give them the high-end vocabulary they will need for maximum success in school—for that, direct study of vocabulary words is required.

The best web site I know for this purpose,, is run by the United Nations’ World Food Program. It has many virtues. It repeats words that the student cannot define the first time. It automatically adjusts the level of vocabulary based on the student’s responses. For every correct answer, sponsors donate 10 grains of rice to help feed hungry people. It’s non-profit, and free to users. Brilliant!

However, the team running Freerice is small. They work on a limited budget. As a result, many more brilliant features that could be built in to the web site exist only on somebody’s list of great ideas.

This is where you could really help.

Why not temporarily release a small team of your programmers from their usual assignments and put them to work, as volunteers, to build Freerice into a really fabulous site that would attract even more students and teachers and generate more tons of food donations to the world’s poor people?

“Why me?” you might ask. Simple: your expertise in building Gmail and Google Docs puts you ahead of everyone else in this area. Not Apple, certainly not Microsoft. You are the best.

You could do this. You could make a real difference. How about it?


4 comments to Dear Google: an opportunity I hope you can’t refuse

  • Janet Cowie

    Couldn’t agree more fervently. I, too, was an English teacher until my retirement, and I am proud to say that my own children, and many of those who passed through my classes, have vocabularies which make them competent to disucss and argue and hold their own in demanding circumstances. I add my plea to Eric’s. (And besides, Freerice is a wonderful initiative in its own right!)

  • Great idea, Eric! Sure hope Google invests its power into this excellent program that is currently too small to make the impact that is possible with Google’s lending hand.

  • Kathy Valach

    So, my daughter created a petition through and I discovered a few things about it. If you list email addresses of those you want to respond (i.e. Google execs), every time the petition is signed, those people will receive an email. 🙂 Just a thought that may help move this inspirational idea of yours forward.

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