I was going to post this before Christmas but it seemed like such a downer (and I was stupidly busy)  but if there’s one thing this internship has taught me, its that for many kids public school is much more than just school.

Its school but its also food pantry, mental health clinic, dental clinic, medical clinic, career center and goodwill. To some of these kids, even though they’d never say it, school is almost everything.

What happens when a kid whose only meals sometimes occur in the cafeteria for free breakfast and lunch, has to take nearly 2 weeks for winter break.

Do they eat? I wonder.

I don’t mean to start a political debate, because of course I know there are many people who object to our public schools doing the jobs that should be covered by social services in this country, and of course I understand and value that argument as well. When you’re working with kids who are battling poverty and crap circumstances you sort of don’t worry about that in the moment. Instead you’re like one of the headmasters at the school and any leftover that comes out of your family kitchen gets packed up, PB&J’s are wrapped in foil and it all goes in a big stack in a mini fridge in your office. When you hear a kid say they’re hungry then off you walk to your office. You just help out. Because you do.

This is definitely the season of giving. Every present I wrap and open I’ve been thinking about my students. Every single sugar cookie I stuff into my maw I think about them. I hope their days off from school have been merry and bright, but also warm and comfortable, fed and happy.