School Supplies

Carrie Gelson is one of those schoolteachers they make movies about. I guess we don’t really need any more titles like Dangerous Minds or To Sir with Love or Stand and Deliver or Freedom Writers or Summer School – stop me now, I’m begging you – but, truly, Ms. Gelson shines.

Many of her inner-city East Vancouver pupils live in poverty, without proper socks and shoes on their feet or breakfast in their bellies. Just to try to meet their basic needs, Ms. Gelson keeps a desk drawer full of cracker boxes in the classroom, and stays on the hunt for secondhand footwear that might fit the kids.

Last week, in a flash moment of frustration, Ms. Gelson wrote an open letter about the dire needs of her grade-two students. It was meant only for her friends. But then it went online, and quickly viral.

And a good thing, too. This week, Ms. Gelson has gone from frustrated to floored – by the generosity of the folks in her community, and beyond. Cash donations have been pouring into the school, along with socks, boots and jackets. And, of course, lots and lots of cracker boxes. The story made national news.

We appoint teachers to make a difference for our children. This one is doing it in spades.

9 responses to “School Supplies

  1. When my mother started teaching grade school at the age of 18 (nearly 60 years ago), my grandmother would constantly knit mittens for the kids without and would always pack an extra lunch for a hungry student to share. There was a family who took turns going to school as they had to share the one pair of shoes that wasn’t full of holes. Sad to see how we have not made significant or lasting changes to helping families living at or below the poverty line. Hard to believe this is still the sad state of affairs for so many thousands of children living in this otherwise “rich” and comfortable country. Your story couldn’t have come on a better day as I opened my Toronto Star up to the article about truly horrific teachers and the mindless protection they receive from their union. Thank you for letting us celebrate an example of the best kind of teacher we could ever hope to have for our children.

  2. Thank you for sharing this, Carolyn. I suppose we have made some progress, but there are still far too many children in need in this country. I love the mitten story… and I love the fact that, decades later, there are still generous citizens who want to make a difference for schoolkids in need.

  3. Pingback: Admiral Seymour Elementary School » Blog Archive » People are talking! And blogging!

  4. Admiral Seymour school has been entered to win a $98,000.00 grant to pay for some additional services for its students in the upcoming years.

    We would really appreciate it if you were able to help us win this funding. All you have to do it go online and register so you can vote. We ask that you vote daily from now until October 19th.

    Thank you, in advance, for voting every day and passing the message on!

    Thank you!

  5. In case it’s not clear to those reading the comments, Admiral Seymour School is Carrie Gelson’s school and the subject of this story. So anyone who wants to support them, no matter how far away you are… Tina has shared a way you can do it. Thanks, Tina!

  6. Admiral Seymour’s (Carrie Gelson’s school) Entry in the Aviva Community Fund has made it to the semi finals. In order for them to make it to the final round their entry needs the most number of votes. Voting for the semi final round begins on December 5th and runs until December 16th. Votes can and should be made daily.

    Please help the students at Admiral Seymour to win $98,000 for much needed art therapy. Details about their entry can be found at:

    A short video clip can be seen at:

    Please cast your votes for the students at Admiral Seymour beginning December 5th. Vote daily. Every vote counts!

  7. Congratulations on reaching the semi-finals! The video is lovely, and it’s a great cause. Vote, people!

  8. Pingback: People Often for Good | 50 Good Deeds

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