We Must Be Present In Schools

We must be present in schools.

We must be present in schools.

We must be present in schools.

Say it to yourself over and over again. Write it on the blackboard 100 times like school punishments of old. We must engrave it in our brains and etch it in our hearts. We, as a community, must be present in our schools.

The landscape of public schools has changed a lot over the years. The small schoolhouse classrooms of “Little House on the Prairie” have transformed into classrooms that are full and literally busting at the seams. Poverty continues to grow and studies show that almost 1 in 4 children are living at or below the poverty line in the United States. Students who are not getting enough to eat or enough sleep cannot focus on their education. They struggle and ultimately fall behind leading them to dropout of school. Increases in technology (social media and cell phones especially) have made bullying easier than ever. Children can hide behind their smart phone or a computer screen as they torment and destroy other children. Attitudes and behavior are at all-time low inside the four walls of a school. Students regularly disrespect teachers and administration. Drugs and alcohol, rape, and assault have replaced talking too much, chewing gum, and running in the halls as “common” school behavior problems. Budget cuts and lack of funding have reduced the size of school staff and services provided for students. Lastly, parent involvement, in many cases, is not where it needs to be. In fact, it is non-existent in many schools around the country.

Does this sound like a successful recipe for academic success? The answer is simple: NO. We cannot sit back and let it continue. Our children deserve better. It isn’t the responsibility of schools and teachers to fight this battle alone. It is going to take a community to see real change. It is going to take you and me, our friends, families, co-workers, and anyone else we can recruit to make this happen. We all have to be involved.

Impact 52 in the classroom

We have had the opportunity over the last two weeks to work inside elementary schools in the Fort Wayne area. We’ve spent time working with kindergarten students, reading to a 3rd grade classroom, and teaching a Junior Achievement program to a group of 5th graders. The experiences were enjoyable yet eye-opening. Each time we go in we are reminded of the challenges teachers face daily in educating our children. It is not easy. Teachers have one of the most difficult, and important, jobs in our country. Being in the classroom renewed our appreciation for the work they do, the time they spend, and the lives they change.

Impact 52 supports Junior Achievement

We were also reminded of the impact that we can make when we get involved. Children love having visitors in the classroom. They crave our attention, our approval, and our validation. They want us to be there and they need us to be there. Our presence gives children a vision of the future. A look at what they can be. We are firm believers that children cannot BE it if they cannot SEE it. They need to see successful professionals. They need to witness caring adults. They must experience more positive interactions and less of the negative. We make an impact by just showing up in a classroom. We make a difference by showing students that we care. Trust me. It is true.

It is a very easy to get involved in our area schools. We are blessed to have many great organizations in our community that provide opportunities in this arena. You could become a School Buddy with Big Brothers Big Sisters and eat lunch with a child once a week in the school cafeteria. You can become a Junior Achievement volunteer and teach children about business, entrepreneurship, and the global economy. You can become a classroom helper and tutor through the Associated Churches Rising Stars program. If you are a man, sign up for Real Men Read and show young boys how important reading is to future success. If you are business or church leader, become a Study Connections site and help students with their homework after school and build life-changing relationships. Or just go to your local school and inquire about how you can get involved. If you live in another part of the country or a different part of the world, I guarantee that similar programs exist for you as well. Search them out and get involved.

We have an unwavering commitment and passion for children. We must do our part to ensure that all children live the lives that they deserve. We have many school visits planned to share a positive message and our children’s book Linnie Mae’s New Friends. Three more books have been written and are in our plan to make a difference in public schools. Each contains a positive message that all children need to hear. We will continue to volunteer in schools as often as our schedule allows. Our hope, and prayer, is that you will do something too. Together we can impact the lives of students in our communities if we commit to the cause and eliminate the excuses that hold us back.

We are ready to get inside schools. Are you?

 

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