Week 29: Children Standing Up Against Domestic Violence

At the end of fifth grade, students at my school complete a rite of passage project before they move on to middle school. The guidelines are pretty open-ended, but students are expected to have some kind of new experience or provide a service to others. A student in my room decided she wanted to help W.E.A.V.E. (Women Escaping a Violent Environment) by collecting used items and money from students at our school to donate to the organization.

While other kids are learning to surf, rock climb, and snowboard, she came up with her idea to help women and families entirely on her own. Of course, I think the other projects are awesome too, especially for kids who often do not get to have those kinds of experiences, but her project has touched my heart. As she stood in front of our class to explain the organization and ask for donations, she told the students to only bring change, not dollar bills, because their families need to keep their money too. This child is an old soul.

As she talked, I was moved by the expressions on the other students’ faces, their quiet gestures of acknowledgement, connection, and support. Teachers in the rooms she visited said the same thing, that their students had so many questions and were really excited to help. In the short time I have taught, I have heard more stories of domestic violence than I would have ever expected. It brings me so much hope that children can help break the cycle. Yesterday, just one day after she presented her project, she left school with a huge bag of donated items. She cried tears of joy that others cared enough to help. Her spirit is contagious.

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Inspired by the Aprilย Blogger’s for Peace challengeย to write a post about children and peace.

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9 thoughts on “Week 29: Children Standing Up Against Domestic Violence

  1. goldfish says:

    Aw, that’s really sweet. People often forget that domestic violence effects children, too. Even if they aren’t physically harmed, living in a unhealthy environment can leave permanent scars.

    • oliviaobryon says:

      Absolutely. I know many children who have been affected, either physically or emotionally. It’s intense. Fortunately at my school they have a safe space to talk about it with our fantastic school counselors. Made me smile that this student wanted to help ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. elizabeth rastatter says:

    Fantastic kid, and fantastic teacher! It is amazing when people learn to empathize with others. This little girl has already gotten this life lesson; it is so good to read! Thanks Olivia!

    • Kozo says:

      I agree with Elizabeth–great kid, great teacher. Don’t underestimate your part in this, Olivia. This student obviously felt safe enough to bring up this issue in your classroom. In the future, have your students post projects like this on your blog. I would gladly donate. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

      • oliviaobryon says:

        Thanks for the kind words Elizabeth & Kozo! I wish I could post their projects to my blog, but I’m trying to separate my writing/teaching identities enough that families from my school don’t read what I post (thus my use of my two different last names). I know it’s not 100% full-proof, and I’m careful what I put up, I just don’t want to give families any extra reasons to complain ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Send her my way! ๐Ÿ™‚ My class would love to help! You are doing amazing things and touching so many lives. You make our world a better place Liv.

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