I really enjoyed linking up last week for Two Writing Teacher's A Slice of Life, Tuesday linky. I am amazed by the wonderful writing community they have created and how welcoming everyone was. So, I am back for another week.
While I teach in a fairly affluent school district, I actually work at a school within the district, that does not reflect the population of the rest of the district. There are 16 elementary schools in my district. There are only two or three that have high enough numbers of students who are free/reduced lunch to qualify for Title One funding. My building is one of the few. I LOVE my building and the population in my school. We are extremely diverse in all ways, socio-economic status, racially, religiously, etc.
Today I participated in a summer program that my school has,for some of our students. We have a program that provides students with free lunches 3 days a week during the summer. I know that 3 days doesn't allow students to eat everyday, but I am so thankful that these kiddos can come to the building and eat a healthy lunch at least three days a week. After lunch, they partake in activities that are life experiences they normally don't get to have, such as going to the zoo, Columbus Crew Professional Soccer game, playing Putt-Putt, going fishing, taking pottery classes, horseback riding, and more.
Today we were supposed to go to the Columbus Zoo. Unfortunately, Ohio has had TERRIBLE weather this summer. While it was super sunny at 12, there was a threat for terrible weather this afternoon, so we decided to cancel the zoo trip. It ended up storming right at 2 pm, which would have been in the middle of our afternoon at the zoo. So, instead of going to the zoo, we had an open gym for those same kiddos.
I arrived at my school today, expecting to see disappointed faces. I mean, we cancelled their trip to the zoo and probably their only trip to the zoo this summer. Instead, I was greeted with HUGE smiles! I had kids running up to me to say hello and tell me about what they had done so far this summer. I, of course, asked if they were having fun and if they were reading. A little boy, who is coming into third grade next year and will be in my class, although I can't tell him that yet, came up to me and said, with a shy smile, "Miss King, I hope I'm in your class this year. I mean I really hope I'm in your class this year." I taught his older brother reading a couple years ago. I was also REALLY hoping to have him, too! When I told him that I was hoping to have him this coming year, he lit up! Looking around the entire gym, all you could see were smiles! We played random games and organized games for 2 straight hours. They played their hearts out the entire time.
It is days like today that truly make me happy to teach these kiddos. They are the kids that are happy to have a healthy meal and friends to play with, in a safe place. I have heard of other summer lunch programs, but I wish that there were more schools that could provide these type of opportunities for low-income families. It was a reminder to me to be thankful for all that I have and for the little things in life!