April 23, 2007

Can You Help?

This week I ratted out a young man.

The boy, a seventh or eighth grader, has scurried past my house at precisely 7:35 every morning for at least two weeks. He comes from the direction of the middle school three blocks away, which has a 7:30 start-time. He is undoubtedly ditching school.

So I called the neighborhood police liaison office to report him. Not to get him in trouble. Rather, I hope, to provide him with alternatives. I cannot see much of his face out my window, but his daily choice and demeanor—rushing along, nervously glancing over his shoulder—tell me enough. He needs help.

Of course, I don’t know his situation. But I can guess. Does he feel like a loser because he struggles in one—or every—class? Is he an outcast, lacking a group of friends with whom to belong? Does he fear for his safety at the hands of a bully? All of the above? Whatever it is, he’s hiding it from his parents. Why else would he pretend to go to school each day, yet cut and run minutes after they drop him off?

I wish this boy were an anomaly. But, as a former middle and high school teacher, I know our schools abound with situations like his.

So—as parents, teachers, and community members—what can we do? Really, the possibilities are limited only by our imaginations. But let me suggest one very specific, measurable task you could tackle: get Celebrate Kids into your community.

Celebrate Kids is but one tool. But it’s a great one! God has used Dr. Kathy and the ministry’s other speakers to radically change and even save kids’ lives. Kids need to hear that they are smart, that they matter, that God has a plan for their lives. Kathy and her team do that.

“My young man” needs more than the intervention of one police officer. I taught at his school and at the high school into which it feeds. Both those principals need a visit from me. I know they care about their students. And I know that Celebrate Kids can help them help those kids.

Who should hear from you about Celebrate Kids?


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