The morals and integrity of today’s youth are often called into question, “Do they know right from wrong?”, “Are they able to separate themselves from the materialistic nature of the environment around them?” In a world were newer is better, the grass is always greener on the other side, where youth is often seen as entitled, Pivot Charter School Tamarac students challenge these norms, breaking down the stereo types around them. Challenging the youth in this area to act now, and not sit on the sidelines; to become involved in their community, not simply take it for granted.
A little over a month ago, a parent approached me about a project that her family and she wanted to get started known as “Care Packs.” The concept was simple; gather essential items such as toiletry, and food items to assemble care packs, for those in need this holiday season. The mother, who approached me stated, that they would be forgoing their family vacation during the holiday season to help purchase fleece blankets and other essential items. She asked if Pivot would like to become involved in the project, in helping collect items. Being that I like to challenge the student body to get engrossed in the community, and to be thankful for what they have, I quickly jumped on the opportunity for the school to become involved.
Over the next few weeks, we requested that students bring in items to help assemble the care packages such as: soaps, shampoos, baby diapers, wipes, razors, women’s sanitary items, as well as nonperishable food items. The student body was quick to respond, bringing in dozens, upon dozens of items to help assemble the “Care Packs.” Knowing the nature of the student body here at Pivot Charter School, I was not surprised by their caring nature, nor their willingness to want to help those in need; however, I must admit I was definitely pleased with their overall “Call to Action” approach they and their families took in collecting the items needed.
During the early week of December 13th-16th, students gathered after school to assemble the final “Care Packs”. They laid out the items donated, separating them into piles of soaps, shampoos, razors, etc. and began to assemble a woman’s package, and a men’s package. It was at that moment that a light flickered on for some, as they questioned, “Ms. S, What do women do if they don’t have these items?” I paused and smiled at them, as they already knew the answer in their hearts. They looked down, and shook their head, and glanced back up, “I am lucky,” a student spoke, “I mean, I don’t have a lot and we lived off cold hot dogs or Spaghetti-o’s, but I am lucky.” Other students explained their family’s struggles with homelessness, and how they survived during those times. They explained that in many circumstances that people didn’t even realize, or know they were homeless. Students stopped and listened to each other’s stories as they assembled the “Care Packs,” taking in the words of their peers. I watched as it began to sink into their brain, as they gradually came over to hug me, they got the message I so desperately longed for them to understand: The very concept of humanity, equality, humility and kindness. They finally understood that they were not so different from others around them, that it could be someone they know and love in need, and perhaps they wouldn’t have even known.
In a world were youth’s morals and integrity are often questioned, I am proud of the students here at Pivot Charter School and their devotion to making the world around them a little brighter. The students of Pivot Charter School are embracing the true gift of the holiday season: kindness and love.