Small Act Great Impact by Tabitha Castor

Small Act Great Impact by Tabitha Castor

 

At the beginning of my junior year, a neighboring school district had lost its accreditation. The students were given the option to enroll in our school district and were provided busing. There were a lot of news stories and a lot of angry parents. They didn't want the criminal element coming into our school. They also didn't want our school district to give hand outs to those kids. I was torn. I really didn't know anything about them except that they were mostly a minority group in a bad school district. I listened and I observed. I was able to meet a lot of the transfer students during their special registration day. They really didn't seem any different than the kids I grew up with.

I found out that they had a really long school day away from home. Due to the lengthy commute, they had to catch the bus around 5am each day. If they were in involved in after school activities or sports, they wouldn't return home until around 7pm. Because these students came from low-income neighborhoods, they often arrived at school without sufficient food or beverages to last them throughout their long school day.

I approached my mom with an idea. I wanted to start an effort to provide all of the transfer students in after school activities and sports with snacks and water for their bus ride home in the evening. She had me present my idea to the Athletic Booster Club President and Executive Board. They voted to provide water for the program.

To get the program started, I used my money to purchase the initial week's snacks. Then, I started sending out emails to the various sports and activities to get volunteers to donate snacks or money for the rest of the semester. Each sport or activity signed up for one week and provided the snacks. The Booster Club donated water. I was able to collect the snacks and get them to the activities bus after cheer practice each day. The weather was so incredibly hot at the beginning of the school year, so that water really came in handy.

I was completely surprised at the reaction of the students. They were astounded when they realized that they would have food and drink for the ride home. The looks on their faces made me want to cry. It seemed like such a small gesture on our part. They were so grateful to get the opportunity to attend our school, but even more so by the open, welcoming arms that our school community provided them.

After two months of delivering snacks and water daily, the school board decided to take our program to each and every school in our district. They contracted with our district food service program to provide the snacks and water. They took over delivering it, too. It made me realize how this small act had such a great impact. I was proud to have started the program, but was even prouder to see how planting that one little seed created an entire forest of giving!

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Contributed by Tabitha Castor

November 3, 2015

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