During the Clark Kent portion of my day, I work at a school, doing fundraising and marketing to help kids in KC’s urban core get the programs and services they need to succeed in life. Drug treatment, on-site child care, mental health therapy and one-on-one education are just some of the services we provide.
I believe in this school and I believe that the work we do changes lives. I see it everyday.
Lately though my office has been a little too quiet.
I am missing the sound of one of my students who, for the past year, has visited me at least five times a day. A lot of his visits were shameless attempts to get out of class, but more often than not I think they were just him reaching out for a little human kindness.
I have worried about him for about as long as I have known him. He has always been tightly wound and I feared that his attention seeking behavior might one day manifest itself into something ugly.
Then one day it did.
He got into a fight at school. He didn’t start the fight but several kids were involved and bystanders got hurt. A young pregnant woman was sent to the hospital.
And since that day he has been gone.
I am not sure what happened, what prompted the fight but I know that things have been far tenser in the past few months than they were last school year. We have students from all around the city and the consensus is that things are heating up on the streets.
Heating up. I have no concept of what this means. But my kids do.
They know what it is like to lose brothers and uncles and fathers to death and jail. They know what it is like to choose between selling drugs and watching their brothers and sisters starve.
I worry about them. All the time. And for the most part I feel too far removed to feel as though I have any real impact.
For this young man, however, I felt like there was a chance to make a difference. I realize now how egotistical that sounds but being there for him, when he came in upset about a girl or proud over a new drawing, that made me feel like I could impact his word.
He is gone now and I will probably never see him again and all I can do is hope that the little human kindness I showed him was enough to make his world better, even if just for a moment.
These kids deal with so much I could never imagine and tonight as I prepare for my biggest gala of the year, I have the privileged of keeping them at the forefront of my mind. Regardless what goes wrong, what caterers don’t show up, which speakers go long, what technical snafus are left to deal with, I get to know that in my way I am making their lives better – even if it is only by fundraising for their school
We all have the chance to make our world a better place. For me it happens one kid at a time. And I am always happy pass along donations: