1. Go to a big box store near you
2. Pick up a school supply list
3. Buy something
4. Drop off your gift
After reading this short but, inspiring article by Anita Janke I’m about ready to jump in the car, run over to Target, and buy some school supplies to donate. Anita Janke talks briefly about her struggles with poverty as a young child and how it affected her and her family’s lives, even to the point where she tried in vain to cover up a hole in her shirt because her family couldn’t afford to buy her a new one. She also talks about how embarrassing and difficult it was to try to find a, “…safe person to bum a sheet of paper from or try to erase a mistake without an eraser.” These may not seem like a big deal in the long run but, from a perspective of a student this is very real and very difficult. It’s not just that these children are arriving to school unprepared because they forgot their notebook or required reading materials at home. On the contrary, they knew all along they needed it and have been dreading the first day of school when they would have to ask all their schoolmates next to them to borrow the things their families couldn’t provide. Not only did this affect Anita Janke’s self confidence but, she started to associate education with being wealthy. This poses a huge problem for American (and many other countries) society. We simply cannot afford for our youth to be forced into the belief that education is a privilege and not a right. Anita Janke proposes this: “…for children living in poverty we have to help do more than get them through school. We need to help them activate and achieve their dreams. For the under resourced, it starts with putting school supplies into their hands.” I could not agree with Anita Janke more.
Here in Texas parents get a long laundry list of school supplies they must buy for their children. They require parents to over-buy school supplies so that there is a surplus for the kids whose families couldn’t afford them. I hear many complaints from parents talking about the burden of buying school supplies and how they are about to spend hundreds of dollars on them. One of their main complaints is that the majority of those supplies aren’t even for their own children. On the one hand, I understand where they are coming from. A lot of families are scraping by just enough to buy their own children supplies let alone supplies for five other kids. This is where Anita Janke’s suggestion comes into play. If the community members took this matter into their own hands and each person decided to donate one thing, we could probably have enough supplies for every single child. Think about it, how would you feel arriving at school for the first day with no notebook, no pencil, and no calculator?
What do you think of Anita Janke’s suggestion? Would you do it?
Read the full article here: Breaking the Poverty Trap