A thoughtful and generous Sydney mum’s Facebook post, offering other families a hand at this very expensive time of year, has sparked a spontaneous pay-it-forward movement.
(And some much-needed reflection on just how tough some parents and kids are doing it.)
Pay it forward
Naomi Killalea updated her Facebook profile last week, with an offer of discreet and non-judgemental assistance to families struggling with back to school costs.
Naomi was acutely aware that, rather than being an exciting time of anticipation and preparation, for many families January is a time of stress and hardship.
Booklists seem to be getting longer and longer and the standard uniform or supplies that our kids need are becoming increasingly expensive.
This leaves many families making compromises and lots of kids simply going without. It’s something we need to pay close attention to.
The idea that others were experiencing difficulties did not sit well with Naomi at all.
Rather than wring her hands and talk about it, she decided to take action and do something, instead. She took to Facebook with an offer of support, worded in a compassionate and no-nonsense way.
Here’s what she wrote:
Tomorrow is back to school. Most of us are excited (mums and dads included ) but I know this is a hard time for many. Many people struggle and some can’t afford to buy the back to school basics for many reasons,
A lot of us turn a blind eye to this and may not even realise but this is reality. There may be people out there with nothing ready for tomorrow or using old ripped bags and shoes with holes.
So me and my family would like to extend to offer to take you and your child shopping to pick out new schools supplies, getting new school supplies is meant to be an exciting and happy right of passage to the beginning of the school year yet for some this causes stress and financial hardship.
We can get :
pens and pencils
And other supplies you may need as I know for different ages and schools this would vary.
This is not an offer for those who are blessed and have these items this is for someone truely struggling, if we can just reach out to one family and make this year better for them we would be over the moon.
So if you know of anyone with a child in primary school this year needing help please send them our way, share this status so it can reach someone in need.
You don’t need to comment you can message me as I know how hard it would be to ask for help even when your in need nor does your reason need to be public.
Kmart Hurstville, Sylvania or Bankstown is where we would need to meet OR if you send me a list with items and shoe sizes I am more than happy to buy and deliver locally or you can collect if far.
We hope this reaches someone in need and that my daughter will learn how to make this world a better place by helping others.
Wow. That’s pretty inspiring, right? Naomi’s friends thought so too:
“I’d like to offer the same to a needy family. Please let me know if you have any other families contact you, and they can message me.
Good on you,” a like-minded mum commented.
“You deserve everything good that life has to offer Naomi what a beautiful gesture,” another said.
Others chimed in “happily provide funds to help someone if you have more requests” and “If you know anyone in Melbourne needing stuff, please let me know.”
A cycle of disadvantage
The increasing cost of living and decreases in government support means many, many families are sending their kids to school without the things they need.
Luckily people like Naomi, as well as charities and non-profit agencies, are picking up the slack and supporting little students.
The Smith Family’s Learning For Life initiative is a particularly outstanding example of this, facilitating support and educational opportunities for our clever kids. Without this help, kids are in danger of spiralling into a ‘cycle of disadvantage’ and may find it impossible to achieve their full potential
“Large gaps in educational achievement, based on students’ backgrounds, are apparent in the first year of school. These gaps grow as young people move through school, resulting in large proportions of young adults from disadvantaged backgrounds not positively moving onto employment or further study,” The Smith Family said.
It takes a village
This illustrates just how vital it is for us to reach out to other families and live the “it takes a village to raise a child” ethos.
Good on you Naomi for talking the talk AND walking the walk.
You’re a total inspiration, setting a great example for other families (who might be in a position to help) around the country.