I simply must share something wonderful which happened this week!
Brief back story.....part of my responsibilities at work this year include organizing and supervising a peer tutoring program. Our sixth grade Beta club members were given the opportunity to serve as peer tutors for our first grade EL students who were struggling academically. The little ones arrive by school bus at 7:00 a.m., have their breakfast in the cafeteria, and then work with their tutors. That means that 15 sixth grade students arrive early every morning to tutor....because they want to do so....there are no grades given for their extra work....they simply have the desire to help. That in itself is a miracle.
To say our EL students have benefited from this one on one tutoring is indeed an understatement. The two groups of students have bonded in a unique way....they've become family. When paths cross in the hallways, there are hugs and high fives....lots of love and laughter between students of very different social, economic, and cultural backgrounds. I see bridges of understanding being built and for me, that is a good thing.
Because this week we celebrated Read Across America, our school library held a "Book Fair." A company set up displays of books and students and parents were given the opportunity to purchase said books with the proceeds going to our school library. Needless to say, our young EL students don't usually participate because of economic reasons.
This year it really bothered me! I wished so badly to be able to put books into the hands of these precious first graders who were working so very hard learning to read and understand in a language which wasn't their 'first' one. Every day after tutoring they ask to borrow a book from a small box of discards from our library.....they take them home to read or simply look at the pictures.....and faithfully return them the next morning. They do this because they do not own books of their own! Hence my desire to find a way to get them to that Book Fair and buy them a book...of their very own. But I had no extra funds and no idea how to accomplish this goal.
Wednesday I was approached by one of our school volunteers who is actually a retired teacher from our school. She asked if there were any of my EL first graders who would be unable to buy from the book fair. I shared with her that not one of the ten could afford to do so. This wonderful retired teacher then handed me "a donation", as she called it, which she hoped would be enough for each child to purchase a book at the Book Fair. Having observed how hard the students were working, having seen them ask to 'borrow' books to take home, had touched her heart. I was speechless as I hugged her, the tears threatening to overflow. We both looked at each other and nodded....joined in the knowledge of the good that would come from this simple donation.
The looks on their sweet young faces when I told them of the gift which would enable them to have a book of their own will remain in my heart for a very long time. The care with which they made their selections affirmed how special reading and books had become to them. Because our benefactor wished to remain anonymous, they had no idea who their gift was from. One little boy approached every adult I spoke with and said, "thank you for my book," and I know he did this hoping to thank the one anonymous stranger who had gifted him in such a wonderful way.
God knew the desire of my heart was to put books in the hands of these precious little ones....and He then touched the heart of one of His children who was able to do so....thankfully she listened and responded. God's people can be so good.