Coming from a single-parent home in Anchorage and having three siblings in school at the same time, I remember a handful of years when back to school plagued me with fear. Worries like, “What if mom spent too much money on my school supplies? Will the other kids make fun of me because I don’t have new clothes? I hope no one knows that I get free lunches,” often filled the emotional space where anticipation should have been.
All too often, kids who come from lower-income families are robbed of the simple joy of going back to school. When their parents are struggling to put food on the table and pay bills, thrill and excitement may instead become anxiety and dread. Having lived it, I know just what kind of impact those worries can have on a child’s success in school.
There’s a simple way you can help change the storylines for these kids – Chalk the Walk. It’s not about the chalk, it’s not about fun—although those things will come as a direct result of the event—it’s about the opportunity to give hope.
What better way to spend your lunch break than turning a kid’s day around? To give inspiration and motivation with a simple message that you see them, you care about them, and you want them to succeed. That when it feels like the odds are against them, their community is in their corner.
Sure, you could grab lunch at Middle Way with the girls, you could spend that hour finishing up a project, or you could run errands, but at the end of the day, wouldn’t knowing you’ve helped change the outlook of struggling kids give you so much more?
For me, the answer is yes. I hope you feel the same. We will be at all 12 Community PLUS Schools on Friday, August 17, from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Come for five minutes or stay for the entire hour and a half—it’s a small, finite amount of time that will create infinite amounts of hope for kids who need a little more of it. I look forward to seeing you there.