As I look out the window watching the snow fall, I find myself thinking about the students I work with. Surely some of them were happy when they learned they had another day off, but others probably wanted to go to school. To them the building is a safe haven; a place where they can receive warmth, food and protection from the elements.
Trenton, NJ is like many urban enclaves; many of the houses are old, abandoned, or badly in need of repair. In some cases the heaters don’t work properly if at all, so it is not uncommon for the pipes to burst during the colder winter months. Since not all parents may have money to call a plumber some of our youngsters may wind up sitting in a cold house during a snow day. Kids who live in housing projects don’t always fare much better, because if a single heating part breaks or malfunctions everyone in the building will be cold. The bottom line is that a snow day is a hardship for some of our students. It would be better if they were in school where they could at least be warm.
While heat is a primary concern for some kids, others may be more worried about eating. Most parents do the best they can, but sometimes after paying the bills there is little money left over for food to feed their children. Trenton students, however, are fortunate in that they can receive nourishment three times a day. Individuals who arrive early can get a bite to eat at the breakfast program, lunch is then served in the afternoon, and if a student stays after school for tutoring, he or she can get a small snack on the way out the door. I just love seeing the kids marching off with their nutrient bars in hand. Unfortunately, in some cases the school provides the only meals the kids will receive all day long; meals they will not receive when school is closed due to inclement weather.
Hopefully this will be the last winter storm of the season. Like many of my students I am looking forward to spring, sunshine and warmer temperatures.