Houston: Making an exception to a big rule for a bigger reason

Eric Lombardi
I have a longstanding philosophical stance regarding community service. I think our students need to sweat when they do service. That means students are not collecting things at home or asking mom and dad for money. As good, as generous and as helpful as those handoffs might be, they do not give the full learning experience to the child.
 
Living by that “no collecting” community service policy over the years has made me feel uncomfortable at times. It is difficult to turn down a child’s request to collect shoes, or glasses, or toys for less-fortunate children. How could I not allow the collection jar for money to go to victims of a horrible natural disaster? I hope I have been consistent enough in my explanation and enforcement of the rule that, agree or disagree, people understood the principle: Collecting is easy; we need to challenge ourselves even in our efforts to be helpful. Whenever possible, we need to invest sweat equity in our good deeds.  
 
Circumstances in Houston call for somewhat of an exception. Our children are unlikely to be able to go to Houston and work in relief projects* (see note below). To that end, we are initiating a student-centered fundraiser to support Red Cross relief work in Houston.
 
But there is a twist. We will not be counting dollars; we will be counting students. And we will be asking that students donate their own money, hopefully money they earn just for this cause. If it is pennies from the jar on their desk; if it is their allowance or their pay for mowing the lawn; if it is money they earned with friends by having a dog bathing service just for the Houston area ... I ask that you, as parents, do not simply hand your children money. Allow them to earn any money they choose to put in jars at their divisional offices. We will tally the numbers of students and send the money to Red Cross.

For Parent Contributions* TODAY/TOMORROW
FWCD Parent Andy Edwards is heading to his hometown of Dayton, Texas, TOMORROW with friends to deliver supplies to three shelters in this hard-hit area. Bins will be set up in front of the Lower School at carpool TODAY (August 31) and at Lower School Parents’ Night TONIGHT for donations. If you are not in the Lower School division, please feel free to bring donations over to Lower School or leave in your respective division offices. We will make sure they are collected. Donation suggestions include baby food, diapers, can goods, paper towels, toilet paper, water, dog and cat food, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, shampoo, soap, feminine products and snacks. 

Sincerely,
Head of School
4200 Country Day Lane, Fort Worth, TX 76109
Phone: 817.732.7718
Fort Worth Country Day (FWCD) is a K-12 private, independent, coeducational, nondenominational college-preparatory school located on approximately 100 acres in Fort Worth, Texas. The mission of Fort Worth Country Day School is to foster the intellectual, physical, emotional, and ethical development of capable students through an academically rigorous college preparatory program that integrates the arts and athletics.