Do you remember running out of Yellow paint when you were a kid? Back when you had a paper plate that the teacher put neat circles of paint on, and you mixed them together to make colors?
If you got your yellow dirty with a darker color, pretty soon you just had this big blob of ugly muddy stuff on your plate, and you needed more Yellow to make something light yellow, like sunshine, or a clean green or orange.
Did the teacher let you have more yellow paint?
I was in a classroom the other day where the teacher didn’t, because the teacher couldn’t. Because there wasn’t extra paint to go around. What she had, she’d already purchased with her own money.
The following week I was in another classroom where we were hard pressed to give each kid a yellow and a blue crayon, because there weren’t enough to go around. I am concerned about the subtext these kids are absorbing from this situation — that no one cares enough to give them options. To let them recover from a mistake. To have basic supplies kids in other districts get.
In my daughter’s school they ask each family to send in extra school supplies like crayons at the beginning of the year, so this doesn’t happen. But at this school, they don’t even ask. Because 67% of the families are living below the poverty line and can’t afford to put that forward.
In many districts around me the PTAs and the Teachers themselves make up for funding shortfalls out of their own pockets. The PTA in my daughter’s school raises $5000 a year to provide things like computers for the students to work on, maintaining a 1:1 kid to chromebook ratio so they can use the computers for literature, math, science, and digital art. The school I work in doesn’t even have a PTA. The parents have multiple jobs, roughly 75% of the kids live with just one parent or with grandparents or other relatives, and 56% of the kids who end the year at the school will have started the year in another district or school because a different place they were living wasn’t sustainable, so they moved.
Not a lot of things in these kids lives are dependable, and we can’t solve all their problems.
But if you can donate $10 or $20 today, I can get them extra paint and other art supplies. These kids, just like any other kids, deserve to have the sense that even if they make a mistake at first, they can get a chance to fix it.
You can help them replace a little piece of the muddy mess in front of them with sunshine.
If you don’t do the Facebook thing (or the FB fundraiser is over), you can also send me a donation directly via paypal.me/netmouse. I promise all the funds will be used to purchase school supplies that are given directly to a school, so the donation will be tax-deductible. I will (probably after the holidays) send you an email telling you what we spent your donation on.
Questions? Ask me at email@example.com