Thursday, December 22, 2011

At MLK for the best half hour of my day

Why do I ever think that it's possible to make a super quick visit to my kids' elementary school, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary? The idea that I can just run in and drop something off--today, a couple of Stop and Shop gift cards for families in need and a plate of cookies for the office staff--is ridiculous in the best possible way.

I am so grateful for the connections and relationships in that school, for the ongoing conversations, for the friendships. But today, though I really love them, I swear I really was going to run in, make my delivery, and get out of there, ten minutes tops, for real this time. So of course before I knew it, I was wrapping a dozen or so presents from the MLK school community to a handful of children who would otherwise experience a bleak holiday next week. I had no choice, really, and though I had thought I had places to go and people to see in the most urgent way, there was nowhere else I'd rather have been. If I didn't have to come back to work, I'd still be there, wrapping and shooting the breeze. Even if just for a half an hour or so, I was so happy to be reminded that our family is a part of a school community that makes a real effort to think about all kids and all families.

King's staff members discreetly identified a group of kids whose families are struggling significantly and King's principal, Derrick Ciesla, shared his intention on Facebook to match donations from the King community. A few people shared his post, and word started getting out. King's staff members, families, and people who are outside the school community who heard about the Santa Ciesla project and wanted to help came through--are still coming through--with incredible generosity.

If you want to see the MLK elves in action, WPRI sent a reporter out yesterday - you can check out their report, which was on the  6:00 evening news, here. The photo to the right is a still from the video they shot - I love this image as it featured another MLK parent, Lorraine Lalli, who I suspect was similarly sucked it. I am telling you, do not step foot in that building unless you want to feel really great as a small part of a big effort to take care of those who need it most this holiday season.

I suspect other schools are doing the same. For sure, King in past years has quietly reached out to families in need. Perhaps the social media angle made this big and noticeable this year. Either way, I am happy to celebrate principal Ciesla and everyone at King for their generosity and grateful for the best 30 minutes of my day today.


  1. Congratulations, MLKing families! Keep up the good work!
    Maureen Kenner
    former King parent
    Special Education teacher Vartan Gregorian School at Fox Point

  2. On behalf of those of us who were NOT there to give a hand, thank you, Jill, and all other parents and staff members who gave their time and resources to make this happen. You are all what make MLK such a great school.
    Jess Regelson

  3. What a great post, Jill. I love our school community. And, you're right . . . I was there for a quick drop off (five minutes or less) and ended up staying for a few hours. Couldn't think of a better place to be. I'm so thankful for the our caring principal and our incredible school community - Lorraine