For every little boy and girl, the first day of school should be filled with smiles and laughter. Unfortunately, many children in our community are dreading that day because their uniform from last year doesn’t fit anymore or, even worse, they have no uniform at all. A typical school year consists of approximately 1,000 hours of instructional time, but when children feel different or inferior, they don’t want to spend one minute in the classroom. When they feel confident, those hours at school can be a happy time.
When you look at a picture of a child, the first thing you notice is their expression, and a child’s smile is priceless! You can see the smiles on the faces of Savannah, Wyatt, Frankie and Kaylee because they just got that much-needed uniform. What you don’t see are the challenges they’ve had to face in their short lives. Hunger and homelessness aren’t the only consequences of poverty; for children, embarrassment and humiliation can leave permanent emotional scars.
With our camera, we’ve been able to capture a happy moment in time as these children received their new school uniforms, but it’s impossible to capture their hopes and dreams, fears and anxieties, either through the written word or the camera. These young boys and girls have something in common with every other child helped through our Uniforms for Kids effort. Their parents are fighting a daily battle between limited financial resources and rising costs. They simply can’t afford to buy the uniforms their children need.
Our Uniforms for Kids effort began in 1998 to help needy kids in these situations. Now, all these years later, our goals remain the same: to preserve the self-esteem of poor and homeless children and to keep them in the classroom. Without an education, they have little hope for a better future. This year, we have set a goal of providing 20,000 uniforms to 10,000 children. We give each child two uniforms – one to wash and one to wear.
WAFB, the Albemarle Foundation, Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health and Locke Meredith, Sean Fagan and Associates have joined together to make a difference in these children’s lives. We are blessed to have their support, and we need your support as well. Will you consider giving a gift to help one child? At a cost of $12.00 for each uniform, you can help a needy child by giving $24.00, which will purchase two uniforms. How many children can you help? Whether you help us put a smile on the face of one child, or many, be assured that no amount is too small or too large.
Many of life’s most valuable lessons are learned outside the classroom, and every uniform we give to a needy child teaches them that there is someone who cares about their future. On behalf of Savannah, Wyatt, Frankie, Kaylee, and thousands of other needy children, we thank you in advance for your consideration of our request.
Michael J. Acaldo
President & CEO