I’ve seen “drives” before, canned food, toys, that sort of thing. Holiday sharing, as it’s sometimes called at a school, can be a positive part of our students’ experience, reinforcing kindness, teaching empathy, and helping remind us that as important as learning is, caring matters just as much.
This year at ACMA a spirited counselor took the reigns of a Sock, Hat, and Glove Drive, rallying students to bring in so many warm things that they filled my office. She made witty and wonderful announcements over the PA, stood in front of the school before dawn to collect donations as parents dropped off their kids, and even enlisted an intrepid board member, and ACMA kindred spirit, to join her one morning.
Day by day the sock pile grew. Hats and gloves filled my windowsills. Wool hung from my bookshelves, and every morning more warm clothing arrived.
Giving is something that comes naturally to students, and the generosity of our kids was matched only by the glee with which they presented their gifts.
The difference with ACMA’s Sock, Hat, and Glove Drive this December, subtle as it was, came in the way it reflected the spirit of our students and our school.
In addition to mountains of functional woolen gear were Star Wars socks, rainbow gloves, and hats with ears. Just because someone needs a helping hand doesn’t mean she can’t look fabulous. It was a fact lost on me at first, covered by the sheer quantity of clothing, but then one morning as I walked into my office I saw the pile of socks, hats, and gloves looking back at me!
This, I thought, is ACMA.
Also ACMA is the expression of delight on the faces of the students who came by my office every morning to deliver their donations. Student after student, sixth grade through senior, ACMA kids brought smiles as wide as Christmas to my door, leaning in, laughing, and tossing the socks, hats, and gloves onto the ever growing pile.
Over time, and at the invitation of that marvelously mischievous counselor, students were encouraged to throw their stuff at me if I was sitting at my desk. We even made a couple of short videos to promote it, and the playful joy on the students’ faces moved me beyond words.
Then, this morning, the last day of the drive, a student, a huge handful of lavender socks in her hands, said: “I can really throw this at you?”
“Yes,” I answered, “but if I catch it, I get to throw it back at you!” She grinned, threw, and ducked. ACMA magic.
The socks, hats, and gloves will find feet, heads, and hands this winter, and I the warmth our students feel from giving will last for a long, long time.