Sunday, January 13, 2013
Not just bon bons and soap operas
I have another reason for not blogging recently (although general laziness still comes in first). A close second would be the time and energy I've been putting in to volunteering at my kids' school. Each week I spend 6 hours in the classroom, 2 hours per kid. Since all three of my kids are in different classrooms, I have the opportunity to meet many kids at the school. It has been so life-giving to me. Because I am just a volunteer, I don't have to do any planning, I have just a few responsibilities (which mostly include giving individual attention to kids with their reading... which I absolutely LOVE) and because I'm *just a volunteer* I have flexibility. I have gotten to know my kids' teachers and classmates in a unique and valuable way.
One project I gave some leadership to right before Christmas break was organizing the local faith- based, not-for-profit group, Shoes4theShoeless, to come in and fit kids in need at our school with a brand new pair of gym shoes.
My friend, Kris, started this organization about 3 years ago. They have fitted over 10,000 pairs of shoes to children in need in the Dayton area. I would encourage you to head over to the website and check it out. It is an amazing organization and God has blessed it greatly.
I casually asked Kris if she would consider coming to our school back in November. She said she thought they could squeeze us in before the winter break. I got my buns in gear and began working on the necessary details to mobilize volunteers and determine which kids were in need.
On December 17th, 25 volunteers came to fit kids for their new shoes and over 250 kids (at our school of about 500) received a new pair of shoes, socks and a Bible that day. It was amazing!
We set up *shop* in our school's front hallway. Each student was greeted by a smiling adult, then fitted for a correct size of shoe, put on a fresh new pair of socks and shoes and walked away with a Bible and, in most cases, a huge smile. There were many who had shoes several sizes too big or too small. Many had never picked out their own shoes before or have never owned a Bible.
Our school has a large population of immigrant families. Many have come from the Middle East and are in need of warm clothes and proper shoes. It was fun to be able to fit them. There are also some very, very needy families. One girl asked if she could give up her new pair of shoes and pick out a pair for her dad so that she could give him a Christmas gift that he really needed.
My friend pictured with me above is 11 years old. She didn't even come to get fitted for shoes. I saw her walking down the hall looking so sad. I insisted she come and get fitted. When we went to sit she quietly told me she wears a women's size 11. I knew we would not have any in her size that day. I got her info and my sweet friend, Kris, found a cute pair of men's Converse that would fit her and brought them for her the next day.
When we got her set up with her new shoes, she lit up and had the most beautiful smile on her face. The sad girl from the day before disappeared. She had a cool new pair of shoes that did not look like something her dad would wear. She was also super excited about her Bible. She told me she had never owned her own Bible before. I encouraged her to read it and she said she would.
I am aware of the privilege it is to volunteer at my kids' school. I am thankful. I am sometimes overwhelmed with sadness of the situations I find myself surrounded by. I'm busy. I don't blog as much as I would like. And I wouldn't change a thing!