Our experience shows, the teachers are the heroes in the educational system that gets rolled out in poverty. Most already know that the teachers have large class sizes and lack of resources. In addition, every burden that you find in poverty shows up through these beautiful children in their classroom each day. To begin with, for the teachers in Detroit, 93% of children in their class cannot read. They are so far behind, that third graders do not know their letters and high school students read at a 3rd or 4th grade level. It is common for students to come to school unbathed, hungry, with dirty clothes, and traumatized by the violence and dysfunction. Many are needy in every way: physically, mentally, and emotionally. Some even show up just needing to sleep because they have been awake all night. Although poverty can weaken the spirit of those living there, what amazes me the most is the resilience of the human spirit. The community is resilience and so are the teachers.
We find that teachers choose to work in inner-city schools because they care about the children. They manage the chaos and show up for little ones that society has turned its back on. They often bring in supplies and things that the children need, trying to make a difference in overwhelming situations.
It is common for children to need a change of clothes once they get to school as theirs can be filthy, torn, or multiple sizes too big or small. Teachers often prepare for the clothing needs for students in their classrooms. One such day, I learned of a sixth grade girl who was overweight and had ripped her pants. I will call her “Angel”. Angel went to the resource room to get help. It just so happened that a teacher, in seeing a sale just days before, had purchased brand new slacks and shirts in the colors of the school uniform. With delight, the teacher thought she had the perfect size for Angel. Angel went behind the partition to change her clothes, and began to cry. The teacher was concerned that the clean, new clothes did not fit and asked Angel if she was ok. Angel responded, “Oh yes. I’ve never felt better in my life.” Many of the needs are so simple to solve. Meeting these needs immediately heal and mends hearts in ways that last a lifetime. We have access to over 4,000 children each year who need help. The solutions are simple. We hope you join us.
Compassion and gratitude come from God, and when they are exchanged in a glance, God is present at the point where the eyes of those who give and those who receive meet. –Simone Weil