A Small Gesture With a Big Impact

Mia Adams is a high school student and member of a School on Wheels Club at her school. She spends her evenings tutoring children.  Mia is being mentored by SOWMA board member and tutor Carol Augustyniak Marcus.  Mia wrote this piece for "The Daily Olivian," the official newspaper of Oliver Ames High School.  

This matters to me. And I hope it will matter to other students too. Last year I started tutoring homeless children for School on Wheels, and it truly changed my life. But there was one instance that affected me the most and left me with the most rewarding feeling I have ever experienced in my life. After my third or fourth week of tutoring one fifth-grade girl, I thought she would like some additional school supplies. Before the next session, I put together pencil cases full of all new school supplies for her and her two younger siblings. Filling the pencil cases for the children was just an instinct for me, and I didn’t think that deeply into it.

The next week when I saw her and her siblings at tutoring, I had to wait until the end of the session to give them their cases. When I gave them the bags, their father was there to pick them up. He watched as I handed each of his three children bags full of goodies. I will never forget the look on each child’s face. I have never seen anyone more grateful for anything in my life.

You always hear adults tell you to be thankful for what you have, and I have never been ungrateful. But this moment changed what being thankful means for me.

The next thing that I remember is their father hugging me and thanking me. Each child, even the four year old boy, gave me a big hug. That little boy quickly opened his case and pulled out a random pencil that I mindlessly put in his bag. He looked at me and told me that he was “so excited because he could finally write a story.”

He was jumping up and down after only looking at one pencil. This made me realize that I need to be way more thankful for what I have. I have pencils laying around my house that I haven’t used in probably years. I cannot imagine not being able to write because of not owning a pencil.

After many more “thank-you’s” and hugs, they left, and I went home. That night when I got home, I had tears in my eyes as I told my mother every detail. This small event made me want to continue with my tutoring and do as much as I can for these kids. It added to my passion for School on Wheels, and I hope by sharing this story, it inspires you to help. Joining the School on Wheels club is the start to helping the innocent children that have no control over their situations. The School on Wheels school supply drive is starting very soon, and it reminded me of this time. This matters.

School on Wheels is not only a club at Oliver Ames, but an organization in which you can participate outside of school too. They offer tutoring, mentoring, filling backpacks, and helping with college assistance.

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