I'd like to tell you a story about a former student who I'll call "John". John didn't look like a homeless kid. He came to class every day wearing the standard "uniform," jeans and a t-shirt. He'd struggled in a prior finance class and was taking my course for recovery credit. We developed a bond from the beginning as he had a wicked, intelligent sense of humor I simply adored. He didn't use it often, but once he felt safe that kid was a crack up. John came to class, did the work, and scored well on the exams... until one day he just withdrew, becoming a shell of the kid I knew. I bugged him daily, trying every method I could to draw him out... teasing, confronting, joking, but nothing worked. Finally, after 4 days of my nonstop cajoling, he told me.
John was living in his car.
It was a Friday and he was scared. John qualified for free school lunch, so for the past four days he'd had a full lunch and breakfast, but he was now facing a long weekend without any access to food. This project is for the many "Johns" in our school district.
I started teaching two years ago after a long career as a litigation attorney. As I started my new gig, I was surprised to learn my school had over 110 homeless students. Each year, my students and I host a "Please Feed the Grizzlies" campaign, asking our student body to donate non-perishable food and toiletries to our school pantry. The pantry is open to ANY student who needs help no questions asked. Food, however, is just one of the primary needs these kids lack. These kids need warmth.
We have over 2,100 kids who are homeless in our school district.
Our homeless liaison receives countless requests for coats for these students throughout the year. Homelessness is an epidemic and, in our schools, it has a real face, the face of my students.
I'd like to provide coats for these kids. While I know this is a huge project, I've been able to secure some help. Let's work together to keep these kids warm this winter!
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