Yesterday I confessed to a friend at work that I have "trust fund envy." She reminded me of all those trust fund folks who don't show outer evidence of groundedness.
I thought of the volunteer appreciation breakfast that had started my day. I went to Collins Elementary, where I am a Reading Pal. I wasn't sure what to expect.
The Reading Pals comprised about 1/3 of the group. There were 5-8 people there who were members of St. Ruth Missionary Baptist Church, just three blocks away from the school. Some people had attended the school when they were young.
I could be wrong, but I'd guess that no one in that room had a trust fund. Many of us have been lucky enough to have our needs met, either through our own hard work or through the hard work of our parents or grandparents. And of course, if we came to that breakfast, it seems safe to say that we understand the value of giving back to the more vulnerable members of our community.
Collins Elementary has a student body primarily composed of minority populations. I want to believe that those children have as much of a chance at success as anyone, but I know the odds are stacked against them. I understand the demographics of the U.S. prison system.
When I got to the school, an older child was summoned to escort me to the Learning Resource Center. The boy held the door for me as we left the office and as we entered the LRC. He made polite conversation. How I wish for a life of safe passage for him.
I think of my Reading Pal who is so eager to please. The program uses this trait to promote reading; on Wednesday, he read a whole book to me, which was a first. I think of all the predators out there who could abuse this child's desire to please adults. How I wish for a life of safe passage for him and all the little children.
The elementary school is set up for the safety of children and to encourage their natural curiosities and learning potential. I know that many students don't have this same experience in middle and high schools. How I wish for a life of safe passage for them.
This has been a week season of reminders of the fragility of life. We think we have a secure job and that because we do it well, we will avoid lay offs: but we believe at our peril. One minute we have glowing good health and the next minute we're being screened to see if cancerous cells have set off on a journey. It's Passover and Holy Week, with the ritualized reminders of this fragility of life all week.
How I wish for a life of safe passage for us all.
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