Thursday, March 17, 2016

Crayon Day

Today is all about the color green but when I think about St. Patrick's Day
I  also think about the rainbow that is a major player in the stories of leprechauns.
( I think about what I could do with a pot of gold, too.
#notgonnalie )
And rainbows make me think about boxes of crayons
all lined up in the order of the spectrum.
This is the way my brain works... St. Patty's Day to crayons in zero to 60!
Image result for crayon
And I never think about crayons that I don't think about this...
Several years ago a friend of mine started teaching 3rd grade at a school in a nearby school district. We live in the Atlanta suburbs and sometimes forget that nearby there is actual need for even the basics. My friend told me about her class and the school which was an "at risk" school and almost all families qualified for subsidized lunch. All the parents worked long hours and they were not able to come to school during the day for programs or to be "room moms".
Well, Mollie was away at college at the time and I was missing those cute and fun Room Mom days.
 I volunteered to be her Room Mom and come every month to do a special project, etc.
I was probably more excited than her kiddos!
I went for the first time that October and took a very simple cupcake treat ( that they thought was the most amazing thing ever! They had never seen those little candy pumpkins that I decorated the cupcakes with. Remember that their parents were just trying to put food on the table), a favorite seasonal book that I left with the class and a craft project for them to get creative with. We played a game and it was a great afternoon. I went back in November and followed the same format. They loved everything and thought each treat, project or new to them craft supply was simply amazing and wonderful.
It was a joy to prep and go each month.
I asked my friends from church to donate small gifts for them at Christmas and we played games and chose the gifts as prizes. Several of the children chose things that they could give their moms for Christmas because  she wouldn't get a gift otherwise. So sweet and selfless.
Many of these children had little or no expectations of gifts for themselves either.
So what does this have to do with crayons?
I'm getting there!
Image result for crayon
While the children were playing games and eating their  Christmas  Mid Winter Holiday party treats  my friend and I were talking about the children in her class and how they were doing and her concerns. They would be out of school for over two weeks. The lunch they got at school in addition to a healthy snack of fruit or veggies each day was sometimes the only healthy and hot food they got each day. She was also concerned because they had testing when they came back in January and so many were so far behind.
 And then she said something I could not believe.
She told me that the teachers at this school couldn't send homework home with the students because they didn't have even crayons in their homes to do homework with at night.
A few might but it put so many of them at a disadvantage
 to not be able to keep up with homework.
What??? This is America.
 Every child should be able to have a box of crayons.
Image result for crayon
I could not get this out of my mind
For weeks I thought about this.
Then I asked her how many children were in that school.
I talked to the Mission Committee at the church where I was Children's Director at the time and we started a campaign to get a box of crayons for very child in that school.
And we did.
 They were stacked everywhere.
We counted and recounted. We sorted by number of crayons per box.
One of my awesome volunteers ( never married, no children and always willing to support whatever crazy scheme I cooked up) bought a box of 64 crayons for every 5th grader in that school. I think it was the first time he had ever bought crayons :)
People texted and FB posted about where crayons were on sale for the best price.
It was an all out mission.
And then the day came when we had enough to tell the school that they were on the way.
Almost 800 boxes of crayons were put in boxes and bins in the back of my friends' car and hauled to that school.
The next day I had two messages on my answering machine at work.
The first one from my friend who teaches there telling me that they ended classes early that day in the entire school and the support staff helped to pass out the boxes of crayons  to every classroom. My friend said that there were children who cried because people they didn't know cared enough to give them a box of crayons. Many couldn't believe they could take them home.
The second message came from a very choked up and appreciative principal saying that "Crayon Day" had been the most amazing day at their school.
So, if you can't imagine that there are children who don't even have a box of crayons somewhere near you, I challenge you to look around and see if you can drop off a rainbow of crayons somewhere nearby and change the day for a child.
Image result for crayon rainbow
And if you find that pot of gold this St. Patrick's Day maybe you can drop off a lot of crayons!
St. Patrick's Day is a lot of fun but maybe Crayon Day should be the new holiday.
Image result for crayon
*This post was not supported or solicited by Crayola Crayons.
Neither was Crayon Day.
It's a true story.

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