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.
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.