With tough home lives, limited financial freedom and difficult situations to face in their neighborhoods, my students come to school every day to find a safe place in school as well as a place to work during the summer hours.
My students who have been diagnosed as being emotionally disturbed, intellectually disabled, or with autism spectrum disorders do not benefit from a support staff that sits back and does nothing.
It is a goal of ours to provide our students with in-school based jobs that will train them for the workforce upon graduation.
What we may think to just be school is much more to our students. It is their home, where their family is, and when they hear they have the ability to work over the summer they get excited because they will be taking care of our school. With limited financial freedom, our students do not have the finances to purchase summer work-appropriate clothing. Rather than let them miss out on this experience, it is important that we step in as their support staff and pseudo-family to provide the support they need to flourish.
Have you ever had to do a task that can leave you dirty in some of your best clothes? Have you ever had to wear your favorite pair of sneakers while taking care of the school flower beds? Have you ever gotten soaked because you work outside? We have all encountered these experiences, but we also have the ability and financial freedom to purchase clothing appropriate for these situations. My students do not have that ability. They come to work on some of the most labor-intensive days, where they will get the dirtiest, in their newest pair of jeans, shirt, and even sometimes shoes. While this work is important for job training, it is heartbreaking to see a kid ruin some of his finest clothing, knowing that he doesn't have the largest amount of money to replace it. Rather than letting these situations happen, we would like to provide our student workforce with work-appropriate footwear that will keep the clothes and shoes they are proud of safe for the summer!
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