Passing It On

I have been blessed with a great life.  I have never wanted for anything, really.  I have been taught the value of hard work and of earning things for myself, but I have also always been able to work for and get what I wanted (for the most part.)  I have had the opportunity to get a good education, I have been able to travel, I have a great job that I love, a husband, a car, a house, and even a dog that I love dearly.  I work in a school where some of the families are like me, middle-upper class families who work hard and are able to provide for all the essentials and some of the frills.  However, there are many families in our school community who cannot provide for the even the essentials. 

Both sets of parents, my parents and my in-laws, have taught me to give back some of what we have by living the example.  My mother volunteered for years through our public library, teaching English for ESL men and women and helping High School drop outs to earn their GEDs and bends over backwards to provide for friends and family that are struggling.  My father was a member of the service group Rotary International for many years and now, both my dad and my father-in-law are active members of the Shriners, doing many things to raise money to help sick children.  Recently, my mother-in-law helped start DFSR, a local chapter of Dress for Success (R) that helps women get into or back into the workforce by providing them with an interview outfit, and if successful, a week’s worth of work attire.  Although not part of their mandate, they also like to provide these women with some aesthetic supplies like shampoo, conditioner, lotion, toothbrush, toothpaste, brush, etc because many of these women don’t have the money or access to these things until they get some income.

Every year at the end of the year, I get many cards, letters and gifts from my students’ parents thanking me for the work that I have done with their children.  Many of the gifts, although lovely and appreciated, get regifted because I just don’t have room for 20 gifts a year to come into my home.  Inspired by the giving that my parents (all of them) do, I decided to ask my parents to consider purchasing these extra items for DFSR instead of gifts for me.  They responded wholeheartedly!  DFSR wrote the following article in their newsletter about this:


I happily collected these items, but it still did feel good to be recognized for it!

4 thoughts on “Passing It On

  1. Jamie,
    What a wonderful idea to turn the gifts that parents and kids give you into gifts for those who don’t have essentials. I am imagining that this act also inspires your students and families to consider giving back to the community in even more ways. You are such a gift to your students, families and community both there and online here. Thanks so much for sharing. We need to tell more of our stories like these!

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  3. I am very proud that you were featured in Dress for Success Regina’s third newsletter. The personal care items you donated have already made a positive difference in the lives of several women who are working hard to become self-sufficient and provide for their families. You are an inspiration to the children you teach and perhaps this article will inspire others to give to worthwhile causes that speak to them. Thanks for your generous act; paying it forward is a wonderful thing!

  4. This is such a neat idea! We have done similar things as a school, asking for donations to a favorite charity or organization that the school was supporting. It is always a big success and makes everyone feel like a partner in making the community a better place.
    Thank you for being an inspiration and using your blessings to bless others. That is a life long lesson for your students!