As you all know, I haven’t been writing much lately. There are a few good reasons, and a few bad reasons, but that is not what this story is about. This story is about my beloved daughter-in-law, Theresa.
Now, in addition to being a wonderful wife, mother, sister, daughter and friend, she is an educator. She is an educator by training, education and deep in her heart and soul. She is very, very devoted and very, very good at it.
But in the last year, she has suffered some pretty tough health challenges. She is getting better, and will be fine, but it is the kind of better that is not the “wake up and thank god I feel better” kind of better, but rather a “slow, upward climb, with a couple of dips here and there” kind of better.
So, because of this challenge, she has not been able to teach elementary school kids as she has been doing for the last almost 20 years. She has mostly been working at trying to feel better and also at being the centering force and caretaker of her family, my son and two granddaughters. This should be enough, right?
Well, she is also a student. She reads about educational stuff and a fact that she read some time ago has stuck with her. There is a high correlation, proven through research time and again, that kids with home libraries stay in school longer – an average of 3.2 years longer to be exact. That is independent of socio-economic status or the level of education the parents have achieved. Stunning fact.
So, while recovering, she put 2+2 together, her passion for educating and her research as a student. And started a project called “Loved Books”. The concept is simple… ask students from more privileged families to donate their used books to give to students who need home libraries.
To test the idea, she began a book drive at her daughters’ elementary school. It worked. That is the understatement of the year. She collected over 10,000 books. Yesterday, she gave them all away, so that hundreds of families can read books this summer, free of charge. There were lots of happy folks at that school…the givers and the receivers.
This story isn’t finished. If I were writing it for my blog, I would give it a twist, add a dramatic climax and then go for the happy ending. But this is life…no drama, just a real authentic caring person as the hero with a long way to go.
Way to go, Theresa. You are the best. I love and admire you very, very much.