A Good Day for a Good Cause

Yesterday was a bad day. In fact, it’s been a pretty rubbish month and so I woke up this morning expecting another in a string of bad days.

I drove myself to Starbucks for a latte before school because I’m credit card debt free and I haven’t actually begun budgeting for 2015 yet. The latte was delicious and I arrived at school just in time to catch up with some teaching friends during break before my lesson. I led a Year 8 French listening assessment, which was relatively uneventful, and then during PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) we talked about the charity week that my Year 8 form will be hosting later this year. At the school that I work at each form throws a charity week in their classroom to raise money for the charity of their choice. The girls get really involved and excited and they do actually raise a considerable amount through their efforts. Through discussion (read: facilitated chaos) we chose the first week in May for our charity week and were discussing which charity to raise money for this year. As the RSPCA had recently sent us a thank you letter for the £137 we raised last year addressed to Ms Kimberly care of a school for girls beginning with Dear Sirs, the girls decided that they wanted their money to go elsewhere this year. Teenage Cancer Trust was nominated along with several other national charities. One girl raised her hand and said that loads of people raised money for big national charities and that it might be nice to raise money for a smaller charity that didn’t receive as many donations. The girls really liked the idea, but couldn’t think of any smaller charities to nominate Do you know any, miss? they asked.

I told them about a charity called Widowed and Young that had been really helpful to me since Terry died. It was the first time that I had said his name since I began teaching my form last year as I have always guarded my personal details closely at school. I said that it was for people who had been widowed under the age of 50, like I had. I told them that I had never heard of a 29 year old widow until I became one and when it happened to me I felt like the only person in the whole wide world who was capable of hurting in the way that I hurt. Then I found WAY and it put me in touch with others who could understand my pain and suddenly I didn’t feel so alone; I still felt sad but not so very, very alone like I did in the early days. The tears found their way down my cheeks as I explained what it was like to meet other people who knew the same kind of sadness that you did and how helpful it was to have those relationships. I mentioned that I had attended several events hosted by WAY in the previous few months and looked forward to attending more in the future because no one else I knew could understand my situation like fellow WAYers could. I mentioned local hospices and how many people who go into those hospices leave behind young widows just like me. Raising money for WAY could help them to provide support to others who lost their husbands or wives young.

Widowed and Young unanimously won my form’s vote for the charity that we will be raising money for this year, which made my heart burst with pride. When they found out that the logo was a swan, one of the girls announced that she’d been bitten by a swan last year, so it was probably meant to be. And so, having decided when to have our charity week and who the money would go to, we were then free to discuss the important details like what types of cupcakes we would need to bake to raise as much money as possible for young widowed teachers just like Ms Kimberly.

Today has been better than yesterday and I am grateful to finally have a good day in 2015. With such an amazing charity week planned in May – and a fair few WAY events to attend – I am hopeful that this will be the first of many.

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