(Birthday) Party With A Purpose

By Kat Briscoe (SMEBB 2013)

I’m turning 30 soon, and it’s been a charmed life.

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Credit: Jeremy Sykes

I was raised with love, stability, and education… Afforded every opportunity and had every need met. In return for these favors of fate, I feel a responsibility to do good with my life, to ‘pass it on’.

I am particularly drawn to working with children whose needs are high… children who desperately need an opportunity to break the cycle of poverty. As a teacher in Oak Park, 100% of my students live in poverty, some move frequently, and some go through periods of homelessness. I worry about all of them and their home lives, but it’s the students who leave my classroom amid murky circumstances that haunt me the most. I always wonder with cautious hope that they get the services they need when stability is lacking.

The Sacramento City Unified School District has records for over 2,400 students currently experiencing homelessness (Monica McRho, Parker Family Resource Center). That number does not include children who have recently moved to the area or whose situation has not been disclosed to the district voluntarily, or through an outside agency. These are children who are lacking the most basic necessities, children who want to go, or stay in school. Because ultimately, school is a safe and stable part of their lives.

Here in Sacramento, there is a school designed specifically for these kids.

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Credit: Jeremy Sykes

The Mustard Seed School (1321 North C Street) proactively searches for children who are homeless in Sacramento, and gets them the care and instruction they need before enrolling in public school. Over the past 23 years, the Mustard Seed School has helped over 5,000 children.

The campus itself is an oasis that feels like a community of small homes. A vegetable garden marks the end of the cottage pathway. Classroom alphabets are punctuated by affirmations: K—I will be kind. Toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap and washcloths are displayed with students’ names, and Montessori ‘jobs’ line the shelves.  The warmth is palpable, and the success evident in students’ lives. (One example is a pre-med student at UC Davis!)

The concept of this school is so simple, yet takes so much to function. The Mustard Seed School relies solely upon donations in order to survive.  Their work is critical, and can only strengthen our community with your help.

So this year, instead of presents, I’m asking my friends and the community to donate funds to this very special school. Every dollar (literally) counts.

Please join me and Girls on the Grid at Tank House (1925 J Street) this Friday, have a snack on the birthday girl, and ‘pass it on’ to the Mustard Seed School. Let’s raise a glass and $500!

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