Last October, during one of her class “Write to Music” assignments, my younger daughter, Brynn, wrote how she was sad that our family could not do things together because of my cancer. Her words make me cry. How dare this bully enter our lives AGAIN, to a SECOND parent, to worry my sweet babies who already went through this before. But to read Brynn’s words written in response to hearing the Miley Cyruses song, “The Climb”, I am moved and I am inspired. I believe all will be well:
“I love that song it is a good song to listen to and life has struggles and we get through. And nothing can stop us from what we want to do. She says in the message of the song, “there’s always gonna be another mountain and I’m gonna have to make it move”. It makes me sad because its sad to think about my mom and whats going on even though she is going to be fine. So it is true that there is always going to be another day that we can do things we haven’t with each other and that will be and always will be another mountain.”
The 5th grade teachers had considered changing the 5th grader’s annual outreach project from one in which cans of food were donated during a community service project. After Brynn wrote the above essay, the idea was discussed once more. It was this paper that inspired her teacher, Kristen Yockey, with a defined purpose: the community service project would benefit a family from the school, and since Brynn is a 5th grade student, the project would be more meaningful for the students. A perfect fit.
So began approximately 6 weeks of gathering materials and donations and creating crafts which the students then sold to the younger students. All three fifth grade classes and teachers were involved with the project.
In the next “Write to Music” assignment, the students wrote to “I’m on top of the World” by The Imagine Dragons. Brynn wrote:
My mom said that it is okay to tell people what is going on in my life. This whole thing you are doing for us Mrs. Yockey, my whole family is touched. (It’s true. I would cry everytime she would come home with an update, how many materials were donated, how all the kids were enjoying the project. Happy tears. LOTS of happy tears!) I love to have someone feel special and I love that this time its my turn and I love to come to school and have people ask how is your mom and I say she is doing great because she is. I know everything is going to be okay.
The students raised enough for our family to plan some serious family fun time. In addition, a parent, and local restaurant owner, Vince Stewart, contributed by gathering donations for a Kalahari Waterpark Resort package, complete with transportation. “Overwhelmed” is an extremely underwhelming description of how touched and flabbergasted we were by the effort of the student, the teachers, Mr. Stewart and the community.
A snow day interfered with the 5th graders presentation of the project results to us so the teachers stopped by our house with a wonderfully written description of the project history and a video of the students in action. More happy tears- they would not stop! I could not believe that, being so new to the community, our family would be wrapped up in this great big hug! The efforts by everyone involved inspire me to stay positive and helps me to believe that all WILL be well.
In a “Community Outreach Reflection”, Brynn wrote the following:
- I’m happy we got to do something for my mom. She needed a little cheer (very true!)
- Usually we help other families but people are helping us this year (it’s a wonderful feeling to help others)
- I had a great time meeting new people from the other classes and working with them. (very cool way for her to meet new people!)
- I liked that we did not just help my mom we also helped other kids who could not go to the store to buy gifts for their family so that was cool. (Christmas shopping right at school, can’t get better than that!)
The Kalahari trip was this past weekend. I’ll write a Part Deux later this week. Until then, I miss volunteering on the Speaker’s Bureau and raising funds for Ele’s Place, a healing center for grieving children that helped both me and Asher after the death of her father. I miss helping local widows with young children. However, we started paying it forward last Fall when Fred and the girls took part in a couple of fundraisers for a few families struggling with their own cancer issues.
We are not wealthy people, but we are making it through. A small donation of $25 or so once a month is easily squeezed from our budget. And for such good causes. People in need. Locally. I post about them on my Facebook page, KindergartenCrush from time to time so feel free to check it out if you’re feeling a little Robin Hood-y ;)
There is ALWAYS going to be a mountain to climb but if we face it head on and keep taking one step, then another, it isn’t that bad. Giving is a great way to make you feel better about your own mountain. Keep those chins up, Peeps. :) xoxo