I didn’t realize how much a simple sweatshirt could truly make a difference in a young kid’s life. It wasn’t until I met with Megan Traver, principal of Washington Middle School in Long Beach, that I began to see how a seemingly insignificant move to a semi-school uniform format would drastically change the sense of safety at her school for the better.
Megan described a moment, soon after they made the switch to the navy and red sweatshirts, where the PE staff and students noticed a young boy not dressed to code. They noticed a blur of a kid swiftly walking across the playground wearing an orange sweater. The staff knew right away that the blur wasn’t one of their kids. They bum rushed the odd boy out and, sure enough, he turned out to be a stranger. He turned out to be a teenaged stranger strapped with $2,000 and a handful of meth in his pockets.
It was an immediate unsafe situation for the staff and students.
The upside to implementing the uniformed system is the students at Washington Middle School are now in a more safe environment to cultivate better learning. The downside is the majority of the students can’t afford to buy sweatshirts. Many of the students come from families who live in poverty and many others come from families who live on the streets. The school has devised a check out system where students can borrow sweatshirts on any given day and return them when the school day ends.
These, among many other stories where poverty is a real hinderance to a child’s learning, are enough reasons why our church, The Branch, has officially adopted Washington. From staff appreciation events to on going mentorships is what I envision developing. We truly care about our city and we care about the up and coming generation.
Will you join us in showing simple acts of love to our community?
If you’re interested in helping, our first move toward assisting our youth at Washington is providing ongoing sweatshirt drop offs. Each sweatshirt is only $7 and we plan to drop a few sweatshirts to the school throughout the year. So, this definitely isn’t a one time thing. We plan to invest in the students of the school for the long haul.
Simply click here and select “Washington Middle School” in the drop down menu.
Thank you, ahead of time, for your generosity and your desire to practice love in a tangible way.