Saturday, December 14, 2013

People Can Be Awesome Sometimes!

Here I just was, talking about skipping Christmas this year and being happy about it and then I get a full on shot of Christmas spirit.  Wouldn't you know it?  Anyway, in the end I think it really was human spirit that showed itself today because I believe the same thing would have happened at any time of the year. Nevertheless, my faith in humankind was given a little boost today and the story is nice enough to share.

It all started in my classroom yesterday morning.  The room was unusually cold today, so much so that I had to put on another layer of clothing just to keep warm.  I have three students, all 15 year-old boys, during first period and we were all shivering together.  I took notice that none of them had winter jackets, but each were wearing those light, hooded sweat jackets.

I asked them if they had heavier coats than those and I shouldn't have been surprised when they said that they didn't. After all, most of my students are from tropical countries, this is their first winter here, and none of them have too much moolah.  It probably never even crossed the minds of their parents to make such purchases.

The following period I have a lot more kids and I posed the same question to them.  It turns out that eight of them have been braving the cold in nothing bu light, flimsy sweaters.  I had a problem!  I tried to think if I had any used coats at home that I could let loose, but whatever I had would not be enough. I went to the social worker to ask if there was any way we could do a coat drive, but she told me that they had just had one a couple of weeks ago. Then I had an idea....Facebook!

This is a first for me, but it's important enough to give a try. To any of my FB friends who live on LI, I am wondering if any of you might have any old winter coats laying around. I've got at least 3-5 teenaged boys who have nothing to wear outside but some flimsy sweatjackets. All of them are of medium build, and if any of you happen to have one you'd be willing to donate, inbox me and I'll make arrangements to come get. I appreciate any help I can get.

Within minutes I was brought back to a moment in 2009 when I unwittingly collected more than $10K for a family of students I had in my class that had fallen on really hard times.  (See Family In Crisis)  Facebook friends aplenty began making offers of coats and within a couple of hours I'd received promises of about ten of them.  One friend of mine from Louisiana already mailed up several coats, some of them brand new, to me.  Eventually I got to a point where I had to tell people I already had enough donations.  The response was heartwarming, to say the least.

So yeah, I may have become very cynical and faithless when it comes to my fellow human beings over the years, but yesterday I learned something more about human nature in the process.  Sure, there are a lot of us out there who can be selfish and downright rude and mean towards our fellow human beings on a regular basis, but times of crisis bring out the best in the human spirit.  So I guess I'll just have to lose some of my cynicism and deal with that!  Thank you to all who helped me out yesterday, not only for my kids, but for giving me a little hope!

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