August 5, 2017

Backpack Donations

There is a difference in the way they pick out their backpacks.

They don’t excitedly run towards the “free” backpacks, anxious to pick out the prettiest one. 

Their eyes are low. Their faces are shy. You can tell they do not have a lot. 

We can see it in their eyes. They say nothing but their cautionary approach tells me what they are thinking

“Should I trust her? Is she seriously giving me one of these?”

Their thoughts are racing.

It takes them a second to follow us over to the seemingly endless rows of shiny new backpacks. 

Head down. Quite. Unsure if this is for real yet or not.

We smile and tell them they can pick out any backpack they want from this row only. This row is their special row. This row has backpacks stuffed with everything they need to be a student in that grade level this new school year.

Their eyes go wide. They are skeptical.

“Come on, I’ll help you pick one out,” we encourage them. 

They proceed with caution.

The walk towards the backpacks and reach towards the very first solid colored one in the row. They move slowly and keep a watchful eye on you. They carefully pick up the sack of treasures. They holding the backpack close, with a tight grip. Then they freeze up again. 

They’re not sure where to go from there. 

“Are you sure you want that one? Why don’t you come down here and look at a few of these? We have some really cool ones!”

Their expression changes. They wouldn’t have dared to take one of the Elsa, Cars or Spiderman backpacks. They smile at the thought of having one of the “cool” backpacks.

They approach you with a little less caution this time. They start to let down their guard and look for a backpack that they may like more. One that fits their personality and interests.

I can see them start to fill with excitement as they realize that we are super serious that they can have whatever backpack they want. Once they have one they like, we ask them to try it on and see if they feel like they can do great things this year in that backpack.

“Does it feel like the right fit? Does the backpack make you feel like a learner?”

Watching them adjust their backpacks, they stand a little taller with their face a little prouder is why I do my job. Seeing the look on their face and watching their entire demeanor change as we ask, “Alright, you ready to learn?!” is the best feeling in the world. 

Being able to help those kids is the reason I wake up every morning loving what I do. 

Those backpacks stuffed with school supplies are so much more than just that.

They are the confidence to start the school year with a few less worries because they now have the tools they need to learn. These kids may not have a lot in life, but they now have power over their learning. I just handed that kid the chance to leave some baggage at the door and the opportunity to simply focus on learning.

I just got to make those kid’s lives a little bit easier.

Thank you to the countless people who donated those backpacks and for giving me the opportunity to hand all of those children backpacks stuffed with school supplies.

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