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Opening Doors for Children & Families

If Only There Were 34 Hours In A Day

Did you miss me? I didn't post a blog last week. It was the first week I have missed since I started blogging for ABC Head Start. The truth is, it was a short, very busy, overwhelming week and once Friday rolled around I realized I had a lot of work to do and not a lot of time to get it all done. I know the importance of the blog and keeping in regular contact with YOU, the reader, but I'm sure you have had weeks like that too. You are an understanding bunch!

I was reflecting on this inability to get a blog published at 6:07am, 23 minutes before my alarm is to go off. As an aside this happens to be one of my biggest pet peeves, especially when I wake up 4 minutes before the alarm - THAT WAS FOUR MORE MINUTES OF GLORIOUS SLEEP I COULD HAVE ENJOYED! I really don't understand what kind of internal torture device makes this happen. Anyway, this time 23 minutes = lots of time to think...

I thought about how even with the best intentions to do something, knowing the value and inherent responsiblity of the task, sometimes it still does not get done. It got me thinking about families who are facing so many challenges living on limited incomes. Of course they know getting their children to school is the best possible thing for them, but sometimes the obstacles are great and it just doesn't happen. And instead of supporting these families or asking "How can I support you?" Too many times I see members of society blaming, shaming and judging these parents.

I had the great fortune of taking part in a poverty simulation a few years back. Basically this simulation was held in a gymnasium of a school. Taking part in the simulation were educators and service providers. In a nut shell, participants role-play the lives of low-income families, from single parents trying to care for their children to senior citizens trying to maintain their self-sufficiency on Social Security. The task of each family is to provide food, shelter and other basic necessities during the simulation while interacting with various community resources. (Missouri Association for Community Action)

It was very interesting the realizations we came to while participating in this simulation. Although our values told us our children and education was very important, those things were put on the "back burner" to meet our basic needs. It seems so obvious, of course you need to meet your basic needs before you can pay for things like your children's school fees, but this connection is sometimes lost in real dealings with low-income families.

Sometimes I will hear educators say "Well if families would just read the newsletter, or the note I sent home in their child's backpack, they would know what support we can provide!" Although reading the newsletter is important, it seems quite trite when you are struggling to find where your family's next meal may come from.

This is a video describing some of the experiences and realizations participants felt when taking part in a poverty simulation.

At ABC Head Start we believe the best way to help children is to strengthen families and community. As we work together in partnership we benefit from the shared enthusiasm, energy and ideas that each partner contributes. Community support ensures the continued success and sustainability of ABC Head Start. Every year volunteers donate thousands of hours of time in classroom and non-classroom activities. Find out how you can get involved today!

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