It’s been three and a half years since I left the education world, but it hasn’t stopped me from remembering what support my students needed.
You see, I taught English/Language Arts and Social Studies in a high poverty, rural community in South Carolina. While there are plenty of research statistics that explain how students of poverty face more obstacles than what they’re studying in school, this research didn’t touch my heart as much as seeing my students facing these challenges.
I can tell you about the student that didn’t know how to get home after school, because he didn’t really know where his family was staying for the night.
I can tell you about the students that came in my classroom thrilled that they could have my apple or my crackers. I can tell you about the grumbles from the athletes I coached, who didn’t like bringing team snacks, but it was necessary to know that every one of them had something in their belly before a game, which wasn’t a definite otherwise.
I can tell you about asking the students to count how many books they had in their home only to have them ask if magazines and cookbooks counted then seeing that the number they wrote down the next day could be counted on two hands.
I can tell you about my homeroom one year where most of students had little money at home, but they collected their coins from couch cushions and tabletops to bring canned goods in for the food drive to help the community’s less fortunate.
I can tell you about this great classroom activity called the Butterfly Project where students connected to literature and history for the first time in my class as they experienced empathy in the truest form as we learned about hate, something I hope will always stay with them.
I can also tell you about each kid that I wanted to adopt so they could escape from their world.
After growing up in a very different house in a very different community, I wanted every student I worked with to become lifelong readers. It wasn’t because these children and their families were “my problem”, but because reading is an outlet when you want or need to block out your world. It’s a skill that can change your future, regardless of the type of challenges you may face. Plus it’s lot of fun to exercise your imagination and creativity! I created this organization to give the gift of imagination and the love of reading to all kids, regardless of background, life experience, or situation. Everyone should have the experience of these feelings before becoming an adult, because this skill, this outlet, this world will impact their lives and create remarkable effects every day.
This is why We Are Creed was formed.