Back in March, I gave a very small contribution to a Donors Choose project that seeks to create a “personal pantry” for high school students at New Utrecht High School in Brooklyn, N.Y. (more than 75% of the students at this high school come from low-income households).
I got an email from Donors Choose today that the project will expire on July 13 without being fulfilled if it isn’t fully funded by then.
I can’t get these kids out of my head.
Do you remember what it was like to be in high school? Have we forgotten? For many of us, products like menstrual pads and deodorant just magically populated themselves in our bathrooms. Our parents took care of it; it was a necessity, so they took care of it.
We could trust that someone would take care of these things for us.
For many teenagers in the US, they can’t assume that basics like menstrual products and deodorant will be available to them. Menstruating people miss school because they just can’t pull together the supplies they need to get through the day.
The other thing I love about this project is the student-led aspect. Students in this teacher’s class have designed a Google sheet where students can confidentially ask for what they need and get it without being obvious to their classmates.
Have we forgotten how important personal dignity was when we were teenagers?
I was talking to my daughter recently. She is a guidance counselor at a Title 1 school (at a Title 1 school, at least 40% of the students come from low-income households). I asked what these kids do to eat during the summer? I don’t recall the answer, but the conversation veered to “backpack programs,” where kids can take a backpack of food supplies home over the weekend to their families. I asked if it was obvious to the students’ peers. She said the supplies were in flexible bags so they could easily and surreptitiously be slipped into backpacks.
Kids in high school are different from kids in elementary school, but the principle is the same. They need to trust that their needs will be taken care of. We can’t forget what it felt like to be a kid needing someone trustworthy in our lives.
If you would like to contribute, this is the Donors Choose link for Ms. Rowe’s project.
If you’re not in a position to give, you can Tweet about it, post on Facebook about it or simply share the link.
This was a Five Minute Friday free write (I did go back in and add some links after the timer went off). This week’s prompt was “trust.”
I’m also linking up with Kat Bouska’s blog for the prompt “Write a blog post inspired by the word: forgot.”
Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many. My pronouns are she/her/hers.
Diane Tolley says
So grateful for these programs and for the caring people who drive them! (I gave money…)
Paula Kiger (Big Green Pen) says
I am too! And thank you so much for donating!
kelly @kellyblackwell says
What a wonderful opportunity to bless someone. Thanks for sharing. My son and I were adopted by a high school class one Christmas. It blessed us so. Thanks for the link. I wouldn’t have known where to give.
Paula Kiger (Big Green Pen) says
I’m so grateful for your contribution, and for you sharing your experience. Many thanks.
Carol Lambert says
Paula this was a great read. I clicked on the link to contribute learned Ms. Rowe’s pantry has been fully funded. My heart is happy even though I wasn’t able to play role in this – at least not this time.
This is so important! I didn’t come from a low-income background, but I wasn’t taught proper personal hygiene by my parents. As such, I can somewhat imagine what it must feel like to wish to take proper care of oneself and yet not have menstrual pads or deodorant available in your house. Thanks for sharing.