As I look back on these inspiring stories, many of them are about children. Little in size, but full of big hearts. The last few days, I have had the pleasure of visiting two more schools in the Cincinnati area. The first was Our Lady of Lourdes. When I drove up to the school, I noticed how beautiful and peaceful it seemed. I could hear students laughing and yelling from the playground. There were some kids walking back and forth with flower pots, plants, and other floral arrangements from the plant sale they were having that day. While setting up, I was met with an unordinary question from Principal Joe. He asked me if I would like a pink or a brown cow! Since it was teacher appreciation week, he was wheeling a cart to every classroom and making these ice cream dessert drinks for every teacher to show his personal appreciation for them.
With my pink cow in hand, I spoke to three groups of students that were divided by age. They were polite, quiet, and had wonderful questions. In addition to purchasing many copies of There’s Something Different About My Hair, they held a crazy hair day and paid $1 each to participate! On my way out to the parking lot, the school handed ME a gift for coming to read to their students. Our Lady of Lourdes, thank you for having me, for your generosity, for the well-mannered students and peaceful learning environment that you provide, and the ability to spend some time sharing my story.
Today, I woke up and headed to Mulberry Elementary in Milford, Ohio. This beautiful school with hundreds of students went above and beyond raising money for Kelli and Ronald McDonald House. It is their “Right To Read Week” and they kicked it off with a bang! Crazy hair day was of course on the agenda, and so many little hands donated their dollars to participate. I had a bigger stack of books than ever to sign and deliver, and then quickly signed another ten books before we even started!
One of the best parts of these assemblies is when the children come up to me while entering or leaving to share something or ask me a question. Today, two girls came running up while the room was filling up with other students to tell me that they had recently gone together to cut and donate their hair to Locks of Love. Their eyes were bright and filled with excitement. I could see how proud they were of this great deed. I made sure to tell them how beautiful they are inside and out. Another student asked how else she could get involved at Ronald McDonald House and how old she needed to be to volunteer. My friend, Lauren Eigher, is a teacher at Mulberry and responsible for coordinating this visit. She took a minute to thank the students and explained that they were constantly coming up and giving her coins, dollars, or both to donate to Kelli’s family and Ronald McDonald House. Thank you, Lauren and the wonderful teachers and students at Mulberry for inviting me in, listening to what I have to say, and for the wonderful job you did raising money!
Today, one student asked me if I like working with children. The short answer to that is yes. The longer answer, however, is why I like working with children. Children are honest, so you always know where you stand with them. The wheels in their brains are constantly turning, wondering why and asking why not. Their pure enthusiasm for life shines through their eyes when they are excited and proud. I have the chance to take time away from the already hectic learning schedules to share my story with these students. That’s something I do not take lightly and feel the need to make sure they learn from the time I spend talking with them. From their focused eyes to the sea of raised hands when I ask for questions, it’s beyond heartwarming to see that these young minds are overflowing with big hearts and I’m thankful for every opportunity presented where I get to work with these great kids to help others.