Penny and I used to compete for the top marks in high school. It was a close race, and we shared the honour of Valedictorian at the end. That was almost 24 years ago, and I haven't seen Penny since. I have heard from her recently though, through a mutual friend on Facebook. She's been following this blog, and she sent me an idea for a donation. (It's the fourth week of the month, which means I'm using submitted ideas to guide the process -- do send yours!)
Penny is a teacher of kids with various special needs and barriers to learning. Her class has greatly benefited from funding provided by the Halton Learning Foundation. I'll let her describe it in her own words:
"This group provides money to schools for kids who need something that is preventing them from learning as well as they should - they have a program called Barriers to Learning. I have accessed money so I can provide breakfast to my kids every morning...This has become an important part of our daily routine. We have our community circle during breakfast, we practise our communciation skills and we discuss issues that seem to crop up such as stranger danger, appreciating people who help us...After breakfast I can sit back and watch them communicate and work as a team during the clean-up. For my kids, this is immense and they've made me publicly cry a few times. We feel like a family...I have also got money from the Halton Learning Foundation to purchase yoga mats for my classroom. This is one of our most peaceful times of the week. You can't imagine how great it is to see all my kids participating on their mats, getting some kids out of the wheelchairs and onto the floor, meditating and stretching."
Almost every day it crosses my mind to be thankful for the things in my life that work without me understanding why or how. Most often it's things like computers and telephones (when they ask, I tell my kids they're magic -- is that wrong?), but sometimes it's osteopathy or a kid learning to read. Yoga is another of those things -- and the image of Penny's students getting out of their wheelchairs to do their yoga poses, with full tummies and smiles on their faces, has put a smile on mine today.