Letter-to-the-Editor: It takes a village to raise a child

Jul 26, 2023

To the editor:

It takes a village to raise a child.

And it takes a child to raise a village. 

Yesterday I signed up to honor a child’s first day of school with some new school clothes. I had been to this same Decas Community Foundation Back-to-School Drive [Now known as the Acorns to Oaks Foundation.] last year, which was pure delight — the gym filled with families picking up clothes bought by their child’s sponsor, children pulling slightly worn donations off the rack and stuffing them in their bag in disbelief at this form of shopping, a pile of new socks dwindling amidst skipping and dashing energy and of course, pizza and sandwiches were available from generous townspeople. 

Surprisingly, when I signed up to sponsor a child this week, I became that kid — my seven-year-old self — practicing in front of the mirror days before that momentous day when open ended summer abruptly stopped at the biggest social event of the year: Back-to-School. 

Afraid of possibly not fitting in, I was glad I had clothes that were new to me from the older girl down the street, which helped me feel better dressed, but I hated my orthopedic shoes and was not sure my mom’s pixie hair cut was satisfactory. Still, doing my best to look my best, I prepared to walk into the new school year with butterflies of anticipation, curiosity, anxiety and excitement to make my way into a huge community of children and teachers.

Looking back, I'm sad for the vulnerability of my young self, and proud at how she straightened herself up in the mirror and met the day. 

Today, I feel privileged to have an unknown child, whose favorite color and shoe size I do know, to give a loving boost of some new clothes to start her learning year best foot forwardAcorns to Oaks welcomes your shopping or gift card contributions to a school child at Acorns2oaksfoundation@gmail.com.


Annie Hayes