School stationery starter packs
Stationery starter packs for kids leaving low decile primary schools for college. Because every kid deserves a fair start at school.
I've been running the Wellington Shoebox Christmas project for a few years and this year while visiting the schools I heard a couple of stories that reminded me both how lucky I am, and how much work we can still do to help these kids.
I talked with a little girl who was really excited about getting the Christmas presents we’re going to bring her and her class-mates. She was excited because ordinarily in December when all the other kids are counting down the days till they sit down with their family and tear the paper off their presents, she’s not.
She’s not excited, she’s probably confused. Because every year on Christmas Day she doesn’t get a thing unless “someone from the church" gets her a present.
I met another little girl scribbling down a quiz for her class-mates on the olympics. For Christmas she wants stationery. Not because she loves school work, or she loves drawing, but because she knows her family is under pressure and is going to really struggle to pay for her books and pencils next year when she goes to intermediate. She's aware enough of her surroundings to know her family are struggling, and concerned enough to sacrifice the things she really wants for Christmas - so that the financial pressure is less than it would be if she didn't. This is a girl at primary school.
When it’s not your reality it’s easy and convenient to think the way you live is the norm. But those little girls that go to school 5 minutes down the road from my comfortable lounge, have lives so different to that of my 22 month old, they might as well live on different continents. New Zealand is an awesome little place to live, but if you think everyone is as lucky as you, you’re not paying attention.
As I carried on meeting with the schools it was obvious those little girls weren't in a unique situation. Every year there are kids that leave these safe, caring primary schools and join the big scary world of intermediete and college, without the basics in their back pack - and if their parents managed to get them in there - they've sacrificed Christmas presents or something else most of us take for granted to do so.
So, the plan is to raise as much money as we can this year and use that money to build stationery packs for the kids that need it.
I'm already working with principals and teachers across 15 of our lowest decile schools in Wellington to deliver Christmas presents to 3600 kids - and those teachers already know who the children are that need an extra hand to start school the way they should.
This year it will be as simple as the schools identifying those kids, then depending on the relationship the school has with the family we will either build the stationery pack the child needs and deliver it to the school, or buy a stationary voucher for the school to give the family.
It's not complicated, and it doesn't need to be.
This year we'll start small with our Wellington schools, next year we'll scale up just like we did with Shoebox Christmas.
Thank you for lending a hand.
Pera Barrett's involvement
Those weren't my little girls but they could have been. They could have been yours too. I've got a really good network of really, really good people thanks to the Shoebox Christmas project and other things I'm involved in - so I'm in the right place to try and help them like we should. The situations these kids grow up in through no choice of their own, is not an easy fix. But making sure they have the basics when they get to school so they can create their own situation, is.
Let's do it.
PS check out www.shoeboxchristmas.co.nz if you want to know more about that project.
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This page was created on 20 Aug 2016 and closed on 30 Oct 2016.
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