3 years ago I was sitting in church and was admittedly distracted. I kept thinking about my students. Since my first year of teaching, I always did a lesson around the holidays on the difference between a want and a need. I always talked about the importance of giving and how special it can be. Yet, I never really felt like it stuck. I kept thinking, 'How do I make this more real to them? How can I put giving into action?'
After the sermon was over, our associate pastor shared there were a handful of families around our Lee's Summit community that still needed to be adopted for the holidays. All the sudden I was sitting straight up, eyes wide open, all ears. ALL IN.
I went (okay ran) after the service to adopt one for my classroom. And let me tell you -- it's one of the best decisions I've made as a teacher. To try and explain the magic in my classroom well...you'd just have to be there. They go from naming all the things they want from Santa to becoming 'thinking of others' kids. (I once received an email from a parent saying they will be donating new socks because the night before their son emptied out his whole sock drawer for the kids in our adopt-a-family). Don't worry, she (and I) laughed & loved every ounce of his thoughtful soul.
Two years ago one of my boys came bouncing off the bus & could barely make it to my door saying, "Miss Russell, I wasn't greedy!" He proceeded to tell me the night before another boy in our class arrived at our school-wide Holiday Shop as it was closing & didn't get to buy anthing. So, he gave his friend the 2 things he purchased instead. I'll never forget what he said next, "Miss Russell, Christmas means giving away what you really love to others." He couldn't stop smiling. And neither could I. That comment was one of my favorite Christmas presents. They got it. It stuck.
I could write a whole post about their sweet comments & actions. Instead, I thought their kind hearts may have inspired you to think of others. Below are ways you can spread love this holiday season.
How to Help in Your Community
*Call an elementary/middle/high school and ask if there are families in need. They will not give you names, but will give you a list of wants/needs and clothing sizes. You're in trusted hands.
*Call local churches in your area and ask if there are families in need. Often churches also take donations for specific organizations as well.
*Lee's Summit Residents: Coldwater is a nonprofit centered in LS. They provide food and clothing for those in need and are always looking for donations.
*Hillcrest Transitional Housing: Hillcrest offers homeless families, singles, and youth a disciplined education program within a caring, supportive environment. This is not a one-time visit. Their objective is to move people from homelessness to self-sufficiency within 90 days. Housing facilities are located in Independence, Sugar Creek, Lee's Summit, St. Joseph, Overland Park, and Kansas City. Donations are welcomed.
"Freely you have received. Freely give." -Matthew 10:8
Merry Christmas from my little classroom family!