Operation Back 2 School: The Second Backpack

Operation Back 2 School: The Second Backpack


[Mary]: I always say ‘I’m a teacher, I’m a
counselor, I’m a mom… I’m everything when I’m in here. [Patricia]: it’s more than I could wrap
my head around, and it’s nothing like I thought I was gonna deal with when I started teaching. These kids go through things that
I have not even ever imagined. We talk a lot, at Shady Brook, about [how] a lot of them come with a second backpack, from home. [Patricia]: And it’s so full of things that… I’ve never in my life had to deal with. Our kids all have an imaginary second backpack, whether it be… They’re homeless…
or they’re not getting enough to eat at home. [Patricia]: Some parents are doing
the very best they can, and that means that they have to work nights, which means the kids have to stay home. We don’t need to add that part of
‘they don’t have supplies.’ If a student is not comfortable when
they first come in and they enter that room, it sticks with them. And it’s so hard for children at this age to keep up with what’s going on
with their academics and with their peers that when they have to catch up
it’s harder to get them back. We want to try and give these kids
as much as we can to make them successful. I want them to have everything. If I could, I would give them everything. But I can’t. So to know that the community is coming together to give them that piece? It takes a little off of me and I can breathe a little and say ‘okay, here they come and they’re ready.’ [Patricia]: When that child’s needs are met,
they feel whole; they feel complete. And more than that, they feel valued. They internalize it in a way that is so personal. They don’t look at it and think
‘You did this for all of these people.’ ‘You did it for me.’ I think it’s important for a lot of these families that don’t have very much. They need to see that that we are there for them. They need to know that they have that support. And when you see them walk the halls, they are so proud of those backpacks. They’re so excited, and that transfers into everything that they do… Everything that they do.

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