I am the librarian for an inner-city elementary magnet school with a fine arts focus. My school is in a community where approximately 90 percent of our students live at or below the poverty level. English is the second language for most of my students.
My students, the majority of whom were financially impoverished before Hurricane Harvey, have had their homes devastated and their lives drastically changed due to the flooding.
When the disaster happened, most of my students had to escape to shelters or to the homes of others. Then they experienced further trauma when they came home to find their homes had been destroyed.
In addition to the educational challenges many of my students have experienced earlier in their lives due to poverty and language barriers, there will be new learning challenges this year. Students will be challenged to focus on learning while at the same time, adjusting to the trauma, stress, and loss of stability in their lives.
My students need paper and jumbo colored pencils including pencils that are the colors of different skin tones.
The children need them for our "gratitude" table where they draw and write letters of thanks to those who have helped them after Hurricane Harvey and those who help them during their daily lives.
The children also need the supplies to make connections and extend the books we read through art. Drawing can be a powerful learning tool and it is in our library.
As I write this project request, we are expecting a rain storm. I know that many children will experience anxiety today, remembering the flooding that affected their lives. Drawing and writing about that time will help them continue to process their experiences.
The colored pencils of different skin tones will help our children understand the beauty that makes up the people of their world.
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