Monday, September 19, 2011

Food for Thought

One of my friends asked me over the weekend if I can ever just "relax."

Nope. I don't think so. I need to feel some level of stressed at all times of else I don't function. I don't know how else to explain it. I need to be involved in a few things at a time or else I get "bored" and start to worry about stupid things.

So if working full time isn't enough (and the non-profit) I am starting a food bank. Okay, not a food bank, but a "Backpack Program" (I haven't thought of a good name yet.) On the first day of school on of my former students (now 3rd grader) had to finish a writing prompt. The prompt was, "My biggest wish is...." Many students filled it in with wishes for expensive clothes, shoes, etc. Not my student. His greatest wish was "to have enough food so that my mom doesn't need to worry." This is the same kiddo who was placed in my program as a first grader. After looking at data, I quickly realized that his behaviors were triggered by hunger.

It broke my heart, and I started to think. How many students at my school leave on Friday and don't have a good meal again until Monday morning. There is no reason that this needs to happen. I have talked with our principal about starting a "backpack program." The idea is that students would be given a backpack on Friday full of food for the weekend. They would then return the bag on Monday.

This should keep me busy for a few weeks while I get the paperwork and pantry built (I'm turning one of my recovery rooms into a pantry.)

As for Ms. Slew (she would really be pissed if she knew I mentioned anything other than her) she's doing well still. She is scheduled for body work twice a month. They are doing stretching and body work on her 3 times a week and are working on building up her muscles. Again. I'm beyond the "Oh Denali, please fix her" and I'm more of "Sure, you can try." Not that I give up, but how many times has Denali been lame?? See my point? I really hope she gets better, but that means that I'm going to need to race the music and get over my intense fear of dying when I'm on a horse. Another problem for another day. Regardless I am happy having her in my live.

Fall is here which means pony visits are going to be very limited. BOO!


Lisa said...

What a wonderful idea about the weekend backpacks. Poor kiddos. :(

I think about stupid stuff when I'm not busy too, so you aren't alone!

jenj said...

I love love LOVE your idea of a "backpack program!" What a great concept! I hope that your principal agrees to it and the program gets going - it seems like it would be a huge benefit for some of your students!

WishIHadAHorsey said...

(I think my previous comments got eaten so here I go again).

Awesome! We have a group in the New Orleans area that does a backpack program, Second Harvest. We have had our scout pack and classes volunteer for the kiddos to help put them together. Maybe you could work with scouting and schools to see if they could have kids come to assist putting them together. There is a community service element to scouting and this fits the bill. Believe me, the kids get so much out of it and it is really great to see them grow during this experience.

Karen said...

I think the Backpack Program is a great idea! That is so sad and heartbreaking but I think it's more common than we think. Some kids do go hungry. We have some community programs here that provide meals for kids in the summer - as well as games, social time, etc. But I like the weekend backpack idea!

Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

Ugh heartbreaking. No child should be hungry...I've heard of the Backpaks of Love; where it's filled with food like rice/beans, animal crackers, cereal, etc. Such a good idea and to mask it in a backpack so the kids dont get teased. Good for you for staying busy with such great things!!! Oh, and I'm sure Denali will love her sessions :)

Kate said...

It sounds like a fantastic idea; I hope it works out.
Denali's so lucky to have someone as patient as you.

ValerieB said...

I'm a teacher, too, and have had those same thoughts. When I first started teaching I used to bring fruit in for my students because I realized 1. They were hungry first thing in the a.m., even if they did have breakfast at school and 2. They probably ate nothing but crappy food (if anything) at home. I was astounded at how fast they went through the fruit. I teach high school and some of my kids are hungry all weekend long, not to mention during extended breaks. It's a sad state of affairs isn't it? I applaud your efforts. :)

Anonymous said...

I've read about your idea for a "backpack" program somewhere else too , not sure what they named it though. It sounds like a great idea. Sorry to say I have no idea where I read or heard about it, but I believe what they did was after they filled the backpacks they left them in a certain conveinent spot for the kids so they could nonchalantly pick one up and not have others know they were accepting help in that fashion and not looked upon as poor. SUPER Idea ! and kudos to you for implementing it.

Dom said...

I can't relax either ;)

achieve1dream said...

What a fantastic idea for the weekend backpacks. I'm glad you're the type of person who sees a problem and then proceeds to find a way to fix it. You're such an asset to your school. :)

I'm glad D is doing well. Don't feel like you're given up on her. You're just being realistic and no one ever said you had to ride her to enjoy her.