Last evening, I attended a meeting for an after-school program in my area. A local church hosts just under two dozen kids, from K through 4th grade, for about three hours an afternoon/evening, one day a week. These kids will get a snack, help with homework, some recreation, arts and crafts, and dinner. All for $.50 per week.
Some of these kids don't have much of a home life. And a number struggle with school. For some kids, this will be their only "home-cooked" meal of the week. For these reasons, I think the program is absolutely wonderful, and I commend the church (not mine or my religion) for putting it on.
I am not sure how this will go for me, my kid (who has to go with me and does not want to), the other kids, or the other volunteers. But considering that many of the volunteers I met last night have done this for years, they must believe in the program and want to make a difference.
And so do I.
As I continue to question what I should be doing with my life, even though I have no clue what the long-term holds for me, I have come to the realization that for the short-term, I am to do what I can to help others and make a difference, if only in some small way. I am not so naive to think that I will make the lives of every one of those kids better. Not even most. And if it gets to be too much (or if/when I get a FT job), I will have to bow out. But if I can increase a child's confidence, help him feel better about his life, or just let him know that someone cares, even if for only a few hours a week, then that has to mean something. For now, it's all I can do.
So many people complain about poor teachers and disrespectful and failing children (and money is almost always mentioned in the same breath). Shouldn't those of us who can help the situation, in whatever way we can, try to do just that?
Now off to yet another lunch duty.