Many, many thanks to those of you who responded to my request for money to help three kids go to summer day camp at El Centro. They are there now, and they are having a great time. Not only that, the kids get fed twice a day, and the report from them is, “We even get seconds!” My goal was to raise $300, and I raised $140. I’m happy with that amount. Church of the Angels has agreed to provide the rest. I’m content because I didn’t want to bludgeon anyone through repeated pleas. I made the request once on this blog, once through direct e-mail to some folks, and twice via Facebook—very circumspect (unconventional) for someone trying to raise money. (Cue Frank: “I Did it My Way….”)
To those I know are regular readers and didn’t contribute…next time I make you say no to my face. (Who loves ya, baby!)
Chicago 2009. Photo by The Scout.
When my youngest son was in 3rd grade, I visited his classroom twice a week to read with a group of kids who needed extra help. One of those kids, Blanca, said to me, “Ms. Russell, do you have those three? You know, breakfast, lunch and dinner?”
Wow—Blanca was not only struggling with reading, she was hungry. I got to know Blanca, and got to know her family. No father, a hard-working mother who couldn’t read or write English or Spanish, and a lot of older sisters working and providing for the family. I wanted Blanca to be the first girl in her family to graduate from high school, to not have a baby at 16. But Blanca did get pregnant and did not graduate from high school (like three of her older sisters). Fast forward seven years: Now Blanca is living in North Carolina, and I hear she has a pretty good job as a translator.
My friend A (with the three kids in day camp) is Blanca’s older sister. Now the goal is to get A’s kids through school successfully. To make that happen, A needs a steady income, and child care so she can work. If A had her GED, she could get a better job. But it’s a whole chicken and egg thing—how can she spend time studying when she needs to be working, even though she’d make more working if she had her GED?
What does it take for a family to get out of poverty? Is it sheer will? The right set of circumstances? Of course it is a combination of a bunch of different factors. I’m doing what I can to help one family. Thanks for doing that with me.