Teacher Makes Dream Come True for Brooklyn Students with ‘American Girl’ Experience

Brooklyn's PS 28 fifth graders were given a luxurious day at the American Doll store in Manhattan thanks to their teacher Rob Robinson.
Brooklyn’s PS 28 fifth graders were given a luxurious day at the American Doll store in Manhattan thanks to the relentless effort teacher Rob Robinson and his relentless effort t

There are little black girls all over the world growing up in poverty, exposed to discrimination, and their vision of the world is quite parochial and dull.  But, with the help of special teachers that sacrifice to inspire their students, there is at least one mind changed every day.

Rob Robinson is a fifth grade special education teacher at Brooklyn’s PS 28, where 80 percent of the student body comes from a low income family and qualify for free lunch.  One day, Robinson overheard some girls in his class talking about the “American Girl” doll collection–which he knew nothing about–and how there was an American Girl store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan that one of the girls explained in their conversation, “I know about this place. Only white girls can go there.”

brooklyn girls get american dolls-flyer

But, again, not knowing anything about the American Girl doll collection, Robinson was motivated to take these girls out and show them that they could go anywhere in the world they wanted.  But once he found out that the dolls were $100 and the store offered other luxury services where they could “buy matching clothes for her and the doll and visit the salon where both can get their ears pierced and hair styled,” he realized the issue with his students.

brooklyn girls get american dolls-girls in store

But even after all of the sticker shock, he went full steam ahead and created a page called “21 Girls Of Color To American Girl” for donations to not only give the girls the opportunity to receive the coveted dolls, but to refresh their thinking and realize that there are no barriers to anything they want to do or places they want to go.

“When they walked into the American girl place, they lost their minds,” says Robinson. “They walked differently, their shoulders were squared, and it was amazing to see that. And they believed they belonged there or anywhere else.”

In a matter of five weeks, Robinson had raised $14,000! With the money, Robinson pulled out the stops to give them a memorable experience.  According to the MSNBC report:

“He provided stylists to fix the girls hair and nails, a limo ride to and from the store, and a photo shoot for them. Each girl received a doll, an American Girl t-shirt, a bag, her picture on the American girl magazine, breakfast, and private dining at the café at the store.”

Bravo to Rob Robinson!  It’s Rob Robinson Day!!

PLEASE read more here.

-J.C. Brooks


3 thoughts on “Teacher Makes Dream Come True for Brooklyn Students with ‘American Girl’ Experience”

  1. Interesting idea. While understanding the teacher’s intent, to show the girls that they can be and do anything, I think his method was misguided. He left off the all-important, if you’re willing to work for it. If I read the article correctly, the teacher came up with a plan to provide this highly materialistic experience for these little girls. And then gave it to them. The girls weren’t involved with the website. They did no research, read no books, wrote no essays or letters. Were involved in none of the planning. His ‘teaching’ was an excellent replica of much of modern parenting, but that is not the model, in teaching or parenting that produces the next great generation. While I’m glad the little girls had fun (what woman doesn’t enjoy a day at the spa that includes shopping and lunch), the opportunity to teach was badly missed.

    And on another note, I can afford American dolls but would never spend the money. Really cool stuff that costs too much money, and for what? The books I buy. Great formulaic reading series to get young girls interested in reading and history.

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