Well… this is NOT one of those times. This is an “I’m gonna trust God and take a huge leap” kinda thing. Never in my life have I felt a tug on my heart to help someone like I did for this little girl. And it shook me to the core.
Here is the backstory:
I started volunteering one hour a week as a Classroom Partner for a Title I Elementary school in McKinney. According to GreatSchools.org, 40% of the students in this school are “limited in English proficiency,” 69% of the students are considered “economically disadvantaged,” and 76% of them qualify for reduced lunch prices. Every year, our church, Stonebridge UMC, organizes volunteers and tries to provide one classroom partner for every teacher. This year, I was assigned to a 3rd Grade Class—pretty cool since they are the same age as my daughter. For one hour a week, I assist with anything that the teacher needs extra help with. Most of the time, she has me sit with kids that are struggling in a certain area. This can be done one-on-one or in a small group of 2 or 3. I was able to help with things like multiplication, reading, and writing. Several weeks ago, they were really excited to have an “expert” help them with Money! (I’ve been in banking for a little over 13 years). During this time, I have been able to talk with the kids and hear some of their “story.” I will say, it has been both heartbreaking and inspiring to hear what these kids have and are currently going through, yet, they come to school every day with a smile on their face. And they give the biggest hugs!
On my second to last visit (1 week before the last day of school), I got to spend some time talking to them about their plans for the summer. What I thought would be a fun conversation (you know the kind I’m used to having with my daughter’s friends—going on a cruise, going to Disney World, etc) turned absolutely heartbreaking. These kids are legitimately sad that school is ending. Not because they will miss their friends but because their world is about to be turned upside down. Some are being shipped off to distant relatives because they have no one to watch them (and their parents can’t pay for daycare) and some will be staying at home by themselves (some even watching younger siblings). These are kids in the 3rd grade! I made my way around the room and my last stop was a super sweet girl named Camila. I asked her the same as I had everyone else “What are you doing this summer?” Without looking up from her laptop (they were playing a math game during their free time), she said “I’m going to Mexico.” “Oh, well, that sounds fun!” I said. She stopped what she was doing and glared at me with a look that said “Lady, you have no idea.” She glanced back at the laptop.
“My Mom is dropping me off with my Uncle because she has no one to watch me.”
“Oh. Is that where you went last summer?”
“No. My older brother watched me. Well, sometimes he left me at home… But, he moved and now my Mom doesn’t have anyone to watch me.”
“Well, will you have cousins to play with?”
She kept staring at the laptop and just shrugged her shoulders. She didn’t even know him.
In that moment, it took everything in me not to tear up. I thought about it all night and the next morning. I just felt I had to do something to keep this girl at home. There is a reason people come to the U.S.-- Mexico is dangerous! And, she is a beautiful little girl from America--there is a very big reality that if she goes, she might not come back home.
That afternoon, I called Camila’s teacher to see if she could talk to her Mom to see if there was more to the story. Her Mom’s response was just what I suspected. She didn’t want to send her to Mexico but she couldn’t leave her by herself all summer either. She was planning to take a bus down there with her to make sure she felt comfortable leaving her there (she hasn’t been there herself in years). As a Mom, this broke my heart even more. I cannot imagine feeling like that is the only option I have for my daughter.
So, now, I’m on a mission! And, this is where I need YOU! Our daycare has a spot open for her and I paid the registration fee but I am not able to cover her summer tuition on my own. Please donate if you are able (any amount is appreciated) and help me share her story. I can guarantee you that this will change this little girl’s life for the better! Let’s show her how much we care about her and #keepcamilainmckinney
- Kacey Blackerby
- Kerry Roy
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