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Canada Vancouver Residents Respond to Teacher's Plea for Food, Clothing for Inner City Students

Discussion in 'Breaking News' started by spnadmin, Sep 27, 2011.

  1. spnadmin

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    Moderators please do not remove contact information from this article. Thanks. spnadmin

    Carrie Gelson has issued an appeal for help for children attending her inner-city school. They need snacks, socks, shoes and people who care.


    VANCOUVER -- Metro residents are opening their hearts and wallets today in response to a plea from a Vancouver inner-city teacher for help for her poor, hungry students.

    Carrie Gelson, who asked for help in an open letter to residents that circulated on the internet over the weekend, said she was surprised by the generous response to her appeal and a story in today's Vancouver Sun.

    "I didn't really expect this," she said in an interview this morning as emails and offers of help flooded in. Some people said they could provide socks, shoes and snacks for her students in response to her specific requests; others offered money, teaching resources, their time and their compassion.

    "I cried when I read your letter because it is so true," one former teacher wrote to Gelson, who teaches Grades 2 and 3. " One of my friends wanted to teach in the inner city -- she lasted two years because it is so frustrating and heartbreaking, I am glad your letter got the Sun's attention -- sometimes it is the personal that people actually finally can see a little."

    Offers of help have come not only from teachers but also from parents, grandparents, church groups and professional organizations. Questions and offers of help should be directed to Seymour's vice-principal Lani Morden at 604-713-4641 or lmorden@vsb.bc.ca

    Gelson said her school isn't the only one with challenges and urged residents to offer support to all inner-city schools.

    © Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

    source:
    http://www.{censored word, do not r...othing+inner+city+students/5460385/story.html
     

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  3. Archived_Member16

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    Donations pour in after Vancouver teacher's plea

    CBC News
    Posted: Sep 26, 2011 6:10 PM PT
    Last Updated: Sep 26, 2011 7:16 PM PT

    An East Vancouver elementary school teacher has generated a surprising response after writing an open letter calling attention to the desperate poverty of some of her young students.

    Carrie Gelson, who teaches seven- and eight-year-old children at Admiral Seymour Elementary School on Keefer Street, has received thousands of dollars in donations after revealing in the letter that some of her students constantly arrive at school late, hungry, without socks and with shoes that are falling apart.
    Gelson said she wrote the letter after a particularly frustrating recent day in her Grade 2 classroom.

    "I think I was feeling a little overwhelmed, cause I have a little boy [student] who's like, 'Ms. Gelson you said you're getting me shoes right?' Because I said I could probably find them," she said.

    "Someone had promised me the right size of shoes for him and he'd asked me that morning and I hadn't them yet and it was raining."

    Gelson said she also feels she has to bring snacks for some of her students. "When I have five kids who ask and four crackers each, you can see that my stack of five crackers doesn't go far," she said.

    She dips into the snack drawer for the students several times a day.

    The letter was written to raise awareness about the plight of inner city children, and originally was just circulated among her friends — some of whom put it on the internet. It has since spread to blogs and other postings online.

    The impact quickly moved some people to try to help.

    "One person came to the school and handed my principal 1,500 cash," Gelson said.

    A woman brought Gelson some socks — and a $1,000 cheque Monday.

    "I happened to be shopping [Sunday] and saw Carrie's call for help and just thought I'd drop [the socks] off, along with the cheque," said donor Linda Murray.

    Calls offering help have been flooding into the school’s office are coming from as far away as Edmonton.

    With files from the CBC's Belle Puri
    source:
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2011/09/26/bc-poverty-kids-gelson-letter.html
     
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  4. spnadmin

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    Soul-jyot ji

    Thank you for following up the article, and for forwarding the original to me. It is so moving to read and at the same time so sobering. This story could be one told by my now deceased aunt who began her professional life as a teacher in the depths of the Great Depression of 1929. My grandfather had lost his job and the other children were still to young to earn very much. My grandmother could not speak English and was illiterate. My aunt at age 19 became the family's sole breadwinner, after childhood years of wearing clothes sewn from old curtains and meals of nothing more than bread and greens. Although tuition to the teachers' normal school was free, admission was brutal, and even the trace of a foreign accent meant a young man or woman would never land a spot. My own father at age 8 walked to school in the snow with shoes with torn soles,, stuffed with newspaper, and only a thin jacket, that had to be dried by his teacher on a radiator. Nearly all the children shared a similar plight


    At 19 my aunt sallied forth to teach children who had even less than she had. The article describes what teachers then had to do to keep body and soul of so many vulnerable children together. Bless those in Vancouver who responded. My point: Here in the land of milk and honey and nearly 100 years later children do not have enough to eat or warm clothes. Without that teacher's spontaneous plea what would be? She was mindful. But what is happening to us?
     
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  5. Archived_Member16

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    Support floods in to inner-city kids after teacher's heartfelt plea

    By Ethan Baron, The Province - September 27, 2011 8:00 AM

    Carrie Gelson, a teacher at Admiral Seymour Elementary in Vancouver, has received an outpouring of support, money and supplies for her kids after writing a letter about the struggles she sees her students undergoing in their inner-city school.

    Photograph by: Arlen Redekop, PNGFor East Vancouver teacher Carrie Gelson, fallout from government cuts to educational and community programs is visible every day — in her students' tears.

    "Somebody uses a harsh tone with them," Gelson said, "and they cry. Or they start to think about something, and they cry, or they start to get worried about something, and they cry.

    "Their lives are hard. There are stresses in [their families] and there's poverty and there's mental illness and there's addiction and there's abuse."

    Often, kids in her Grade 2-3 classes at the 125-student Admiral Seymour Elementary show up late and hungry. Some come in on rainy days with holes in their shoes and no warm socks. Students' troubles make it harder to teach, and to learn.

    "There's awesome learning in my room," Gelson said. "But it's interrupted by, 'I'm hungry,' it's interrupted by, 'My shoes don't fit.' But the biggest thing it's interrupted by is the sadness and the anger and the upset."

    Because counselling services are based on student numbers and not student needs, Admiral Seymour has a counsellor on site for less than one day per week. And in past years, when a student showed signs of ill treatment, a government social worker would respond immediately to Gelson's call. Now, Gelson said, it can be weeks before a call back.

    In B.C., 30 per cent of children start school in kindergarten developmentally behind and vulnerable to falling even further back, said a 2009 report from the University of B.C. The report projects this developmental deficit will cost B.C. 20 per cent of its gross-domestic-product growth for the next 60 years.

    "Those neighbourhoods that report higher rates of poverty suffer higher vulnerability levels," said the report.

    Gelson, a teacher at Admiral Seymour for 16 years, said she's watched the effects of government cuts to community and social services take an increasingly heavy toll in her classroom.

    "The more [they're] cut the harder it is on families, the harder it is on the kids in front of me," Gelson said. "It is getting worse, absolutely."

    On Sept. 23, Gelson posted on the Internet a letter to the people of Vancouver about the state of her students and their needs for warm socks, shoes and snacks. The missive went locally viral, and generated media coverage and an outpouring of public support.

    "People are bringing me stuff, like boxes of boots and socks and food and school supplies," Gelson said. "Someone dropped off $1,500 in cash."

    On Sept. 26, a man gave her an envelope containing at least 10 cheques for $100 - Gelson's been so busy talking to reporters and accepting contributions she didn't have time to count the cheques. The Yaletown Rotary Club gave her $1,000 for her student book club.

    "It's pretty exciting," Gelson said. "I think I've hugged more strangers today than in my whole life."

    Anyone can help by writing a cheque to an inner-city school, sending a letter to Premier Christy Clark or finding a volunteer opportunity, she added.

    But her students need action from government, too, Gelson said. More school counsellors and lighter caseloads for social workers. Some of her kids need therapists, others need speech-language pathologists.

    Read the full text of Gelson's letter:


    http://www.theprovince.com/life/Full+text+Carrie+Gelson+letter+community/5464503/story.html


    source:http://www.theprovince.com/life/Sup...ter+teacher+heartfelt+plea/5463376/story.html
     
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  6. spnadmin

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    She is, in her workmanlike way, preventing some untold number of children from becoming hardened cynics. Some will not make it. But if even a few do, we are blessed by her actions. Thanks once again.
     
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