This is the time of year for buying school supplies, rearranging schedules and everything else that goes along with getting back to school. Many children are anxiously awaiting their first day of school. Some of them are dreading it with every fiber of their being because they will not have new school clothes and school supplies are not affordable for them.
When you are at the school supply store, give some thought to those who do not have the ability to buy clothes, books, folders and backpacks. There are many families who are struggling just to feed their children. Buying school supplies is difficult and sometimes an impossibility. Teachers often have to purchase classroom supplies on their own. Not every school is able to provide enough to satisfy the needs. If you can help students and teachers in any way, you will find there really are benefits to giving. Following are a few different ways you can contribute.
• Look through your children's closets for clothes that no longer fit them. Donate these items to a family you know that needs them. Local churches are great places for finding out which families in the neighborhood could use some of this kind of assistance or you can take the clothes to your local charity. If your children wear uniforms, donate them back to the school.
• When you are shopping for shoes, take advantage of the “Buy one pair, get the second for half-price” offers. Donate the shoes to charity or ask teachers to give them to students who need them.
• School supplies are discounted this time of year. Spend a few extra dollars to get some pencils, paper and notebooks for kids who will show up to school without them. Start a neighborhood school supply drive to encourage others to give as well. Most teachers will be happy to hand these out to children who need them. Throughout the school year, ask the teacher to let you know about students who need supplies for school. Encourage friends and family members to do the same thing for their children’s classrooms.
• Give of your time by volunteering to tutor a child once or twice a week. The time you spend with a child who needs some extra help will be remembered and appreciated. You can make a difference in the life of a child who might otherwise find themselves falling behind.
• If you are able, volunteer some time to be a classroom helper. It can be very hard for a teacher to help every child who needs it, especially when they have 30 or more students to teach. You can help in other ways as well. Organize the class party, make copies for the teacher, be a guiding hand when students get unruly… The ways your presence in the classroom can help are limitless.
• Establish a carpool program in your neighborhood. Rising gas prices and tight schedules take their toll. A community carpool can take the edge off and give parents -- including you-- a break.
• If your children ride the school bus, offer to spend a day or two a week on the bus. You can help the bus driver by quieting loud and active children. Engage the kids in songs and stories. This keeps them occupied and gives the bus driver the ability to pay attention to the road without having to worry about what is going on behind them.
When people think of students dreading the upcoming school year, they usually laugh it off because many times, the dread is all about having to do homework and “wasting time” in the classroom when they would rather be playing. But many kids are dreading school because they can’t afford the clothes and supplies they need or they are struggling with a subject and anxiety overtakes them. If you can help by donating time, school supplies or money, you will find that making others happy in this way makes you a happier person, too.
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