In two weeks from today, I am back at work. It almost feels like I had a summer break – that is if your summer break has a major surgery and recovery involved – like back when I was in school.
I loved school – at least the first day each year. My mom would take us to Hall’s Variety Store or Skillerns and we would get to pick out the supplies that we wanted. I always wanted a super cool Trapper Keeper style notebook – I remember one in particular with a waterfall pictured – and Mom would always let me get everything on the list provided by the school, as well as a few extras like a big set of markers or a lunch box (I sported a Flying Nun one in grade school one year), etc. We would also go to Sanger Harris and get a new outfit especially for the first day, in addition to lots of other new clothes and shoes.
I loved the first day of school because it was so much fun to have all new things to use and wear, and also to see my friends after the summer break. Of course another benefit to the first day was that no homework had to be turned in that day. The first day of school was exciting and filled with possibilities.
Of course, the kids we help at Community Partners of Dallas (CPD) don’t have my memories of the first day of school. For them, school is a painful reminder that they aren’t like the other kids.
Nathan started 3rd grade in a tattered, too small uniform left over from the previous year. His pencil was a stub and the eraser was almost gone. His spiral notebook was torn up. He didn’t have the other supplies that he needed. The back pack that he carried was pink, one that his half sister had left behind when she went to live with her birth father. Nathan was teased all year. His teacher was the one who called in a report of suspicion of child abuse to CPS toward the end of the 3rd grade year. A CPS Investigator went to Nathan’s home and found reason to remove Nathan and place him with his paternal aunt. Nathan has had a happy summer and CPS is working to allow Nathan’s aunt to have permanent custody of the boy.
This year the first day of school will be different for Nathan. He has already told his CPS caseworker exactly what kind of backpack he wants (blue, with black trim, and with a patch or sticker for the MAVs), and he has been excitedly talking about his new school and how this year he will be like all of the other boys.
CPD will help more than 2,000 kids just like Nathan to go back to school this year with new supplies and uniforms. We could use your help. Since we are able to bulk purchase, every dollar you donate provides 4 dollars worth of supplies for our kids. Visit www.CommunityPartnersDallas.org to donate or to find out more.