Wake up, Chesterfield!

Two weeks, and we will be back into our routine-HALLELUJUAH! I am in need of structure more than the kids. While I have enjoyed this summer and all of our adventures I need our schedule back and am looking forward to early mornings and strictly scheduled days (surprise, surprise).

Many of us that live in this wonderful county are very fortunate. We put our children to bed every night under clean sheets and with full bellies. We confidently prepare for “back to school,” our biggest worry being the tacky t-shirts they want to buy and making sure we have the 12 glue sticks and erasers needed. We are fortunate that these are our concerns because for many in the county of Chesterfield, it’s a much more dismal situation than which color book bag to get.

My sweet boy will be starting in a new school this year, he has been accepted into a program that is not offered at his home school and we are very excited to start this new adventure. Wanting to be involved, I became a member of the PTA and at the first meeting quickly realized the glaring differences in our old school and our new one. What struck me was how all of these precious children are not getting the same opportunities in this county. Why are the children down the street offered better opportunities and when I say down the street that is meant literally. Schools that are seven miles apart may as well be fifty. Programs that the one school has had since we started there in kindergarten, our new school is now just receiving thanks to county funding. Why are all of our children not receiving the same education?  One thing I am so grateful for is the outstanding principal at our new school. This is a woman who is passionate about her school and the little people who fill it up. She is a woman on fire with wonderfully creative ideas to make families and children excited the minute they walk in the door, I see great things happening at this school and with the support of the community there will be no stopping them!

Our new school is located in an area of high poverty and yes folks, there are plenty of areas in Chesterfield County that have a “high poverty” demographic. We all go through our daily routine with our suburban goggles on, focused straight ahead on dance lessons, soccer practice, grocery store visits and while I’m not saying “all of us” (yes I am), I am saying that most of us tend to not notice the little people in our lives who come to school hungry, without the proper winter coat, without the proper care. There are so many, so many, and so many and they need to be noticed, and noticed right now. They need the same advantages as your children and my children. It’s not the children’s fault that they attend a school where the majority of the demographic is below the poverty line which means that the PTA isn’t capable of raising the funds necessary to buy computer programs to help encourage math and reading. These schools need the communities support. They need your support; these children need your support. Every child deserves an opportunity to have the best education available, not just some children.

I want you to take off those goggles I was talking about, and really look around. I want you to do it right now! Did you know that there are children in this county that live in hotels on a week to week basis? The uncertainty that these children face –  school is their safe zone where they should be able to go and feel confident that they will be loved, fed and nurtured there in more ways than one. The community of Chester and Chesterfield needs to WAKE UP and realize that this is a growing problem. We have poverty here and it’s not going away. Teachers, fellow parents – pay attention please. If you see a friend at school, please be empathetic to their situation;, notice if they need a winter coat or are hungry, be kind, be caring, be present.

So, as we all go back to school let’s remember to take those goggles off! Remember to be present in the moment and let’s support each other and our schools.

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