Maria and I (and Red) are heading to Albany this morning to bring art supplies, sneakers and hopefully, some some small financial support to the children and staff of a Catholic High School who believe strongly in the idea of empathy and compassion for the needy and the vulnerable.
It’s hard to describe what it might mean to a young refugee high school student, far from home, living with one or two parents who don’t speak English and work day and night, struggling to acclimate to a new country, shedding memories of lost friends and family, struggling to have enough clothes and groceries; children who lost everything and survived dangerous and dirty refugee camps, to be able to go to a teacher and ask if it might be possible to come and visit during the summer months, when there is no school, no place to go in a strange and sometimes hostile world.
This school is home to them, their safe place.
These children are brave and strong, they navigate the new world for themselves and their families, they grow up in a hurry.
In my own life as a student, I couldn’t have imagined such a thing, I would never dared to ask to come back during the summer, I would never have wanted to. If I ever had returned to any school of mine in the summer, the doors would have been locked tight.
So it moved me deeply to get this message from Sue Silverstein, a teacher at the Bishop Maginn High School, and increasingly, a haven for the children of the refugees that made it to America before the doors slammed shut, and whose families have been abandoned by their new government.
I especially like her idea of “infusions of love.”
(Please consider supporting the Bishop Maginn Laptop Campaign, we are hoping to bring technology to the students at Bishop Maginn by purchasing 26 Acer Chrome laptop computers, they cost $208 each. There are several ways to contribute, one is to send a tax-deductible donation directly to the school, another is to purchase a laptop and ship it to the school via Amazon, a third to send a donation to me, and I’ll take care of the purchase. These children need technology Details here.)
We work well together, Sue and I. We are different, but we seem to speak the same language. She is threatening to kidnap Red, but we aren’t that close.
Sue and I have connected, she feels like a sister to me, and a friend. I love her daily reports on how the Army Of Good is helping bring some more energy and life into to the school.
I so admire her love and dedication, sometimes I think this compassion has been lost in our world, I am always snapped back to life in this work.
We are bringing box loads of art supplies, financial support for the artist Blue, sneakers for the twins from Pakistan, Issachar an Asher, and payment for Paw Lway Shee, who sold two paintings.
“It’s an amazing thing Jon. Today I was after school hanging with Blue while she finished her painting. All of the sudden a group of the refugee kids that just graduated last week came in. Can we still paint and make music, even though we graduated? I told them they could come back until they came back with their own kids someday ! So they made T-shirt’s and went in the music room and sang and played the instruments! It’s not just the kids still students you are helping, it’s the whole community! They support each other, they are so proud of the girls selling paintings. It’s just an amazing infusion of love. I’ll give you the video I took of them having fun. It’s not a great video but I thought it would warm your heart.
Blessings, see you tomorrow.