Friday, March 11, 2011

Charitable Contributions

Matthew 10:8 Freely you have received, freely give.

When I was a little girl, my world changed dramatically at age 6. My family moved from Royse City to Carrollton and I started public school; therefore, my personal world was greatly enlarged. One of my first grade friends was Kathleen Dye. Her family lived one street over from me – Baxley Dr. to Hood St. and her mom was our Brownie Scout leader. Kathleen was enjoyably spunky and unnaturally small – her size was stymied by the medication she had to take to relieve the pain of her childhood rheumatoid arthritis. The disease caused her to miss long spurts from school and our Brownie troop would often make treats to take to her and the other patients at Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas. The Dye family moved away from the neighborhood before our elementary school days were over so I don’t know how the story of their family progressed through the years, but their influence carried on through the passing years. When a loved one passes away or when I want to honor someone with a gift and they are the type of person who “already has everything”, I remember the good that the people at Scottish – Rite do for children like my friend, Kathleen, and I make a donation to their continued work. Why do I choose them? I choose them because I was taught about their service from my early days and I remember.

When working toward my Master’s Degree I was assigned a roommate who was young enough to be my daughter – she was a young woman of faith, intelligence, beauty, wit and athletic energy. Although our trips between DFW and San Marcos were often tiresome, I loved learning from each other – Jackie Arato (Killion), you are a blessed spirit! During our travels, I heard stories of Jackie’s real life roommate who I never met but knew I would like based on the Jackie tales. She (the roommate) was also a teacher, also a Christian believer, also from Oklahoma and studying to become a school counselor. Around this time frame my school needed to fill a position for counselor – so I told Jackie – who told her roommate – who applied and was hired – I met the new school counselor and she was the beloved friend of a friend. God works so beautifully to connect us to the right people at the right time!

Our counselor, Leslie, connected immediately with the students and staff – she was genuine! She had a goal to do a triathlon and she planned to participate in one that raised funds for the Luekemia/Lymphoma society. Her passion and compassion carried over to the school where we adopted this charity as our group project for the spring. Leslie has moved on to serve as counselor at one of our high schools but the seed that she planted is still growing and thriving at our school. The various student groups have taken on roles in organizing this charitable campaign – Teen Leadership classes, National Jr. Honor Society, Student Council, PALS – with video, announcements, posters, Student-Faculty basketball game, and a 3-on-3 basketball tournament – championing the worthy cause of Pennies for Pasta. Thank you to the Nathmans and others who brought the local situation of the middle-schooler, Griffin, to the hearts of our students. Thank you to Judy Drury and Suzanne Barker for sharing stories of family members affected by the disease. Thank you to Patti Seeker and Karen Boyse for overseeing the funds and the student roles. Thank you for giving me the right context of sharing with my students the sudden shocking loss of my pastor due to complications from undiagnosed leukemia.

Our 5th period classes were the groups designated as the collecting points for this charity – we were challenged to live up to our student developed social contract which included the goal of “selflessness”.

My 5th period class always starts out as a rowdy bunch, coming into class loudly from the lunch room social time. In contrast from their usual me-first attitudes, they were quiet and thoughtful during the introduction of the needs of this charity. I committed to write a check to honor the memory of Dr. Ken Diehm and many of them pulled out money left over from lunch and put it in the box that day. One girl cleaned out her wallet of her allowance money; one boy brought in a Ziploc bag full of change where he had emptied his piggy bank; others brought tens and twenties that their parents gave them after they told them about this cause. This after-lunch-bunch who often struggle with learning math and have trouble even keeping up with a pencil by that time of the day came through admirably when asked to think about others a little more than themselves. They were commended on the announcements for being among the top fundraising classes and will be treated at some time in the future with a pizza party. Witnessing caring hearts in teenagers is an encouraging moment in life.

My prayer is that there will come a day for them in adulthood that they will remember giving to the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society. They will have a need to honor a person who “already has everything” with a gift or they will want to commemorate the memory of a loved one who has passed – they will remember and they will know what to do, they will remember where to give.

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