Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Scruffy school library healed with community hands

This morning I found an article in the News and Observer by Barry Saunders describing how a young woman and her church helped revamp the library at Y.E. Smith Elementary in Durham. It's one of those uplifting stories about good people doing good things where they saw a need. I love Ms. Newkirk's comments about the work not being about proselytizing. They're just there to help.

This story also makes me sad. Libraries where you can't check out the books? Chairs that you can't sit on? I know that everyone is facing budget cuts and tough economic realities right now. But we're not talking about a state-of-the-art auditorium or iPads for every child. The library seems like one of the most basic, age-old staples of every school. But this one was actually age-old and in dire straits until a church stepped in. This young woman and others like her are heroes. They see that there's something to be done and they just do it. But, in the bigger picture, are we at the point where basic facilities in schools rely on charity to be serviceable, even safe (all those broken chairs) for students?

You're right if you think such things should be taken care of by the government and basic education funding. But it's not happening. And you're wrong if you think it's not your problem, and everyone's problem. Wonderful people like Ashley Newkirk are stepping in to fix things that need fixing because they realize that every child deserves a quality education, and our communities and the future are better off for it. Large scale, we've got a system to fix.

Please take a look at Mr. Saunders' article and then start helping in a small way by clicking "Donate" to the right of this blog post. My goal is to raise $8,500 to directly aid nonprofits that are in the trenches working to make public education better and give kids a chance at the best of learning. And I need your help.

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