Tukwila, help your neighbors throughout the year | Dr. Nancy Coogan

No matter what your faith or background, this is the season for family, friends, and thanks. My own family had significant traditions growing up, and more than anything — looming bigger in memory than even the giant Macy’s Day Parade balloons — I remember an overwhelming sense of love and comfort

Nancy Coogan

Happy holidays, Tukwila community!

No matter what your faith or background, this is the season for family, friends, and thanks. My own family had significant traditions growing up, and more than anything — looming bigger in memory than even the giant Macy’s Day Parade balloons — I remember an overwhelming sense of love and comfort.

That’s what I want for every one of our children in the Tukwila School District, and I am once again humbled to be part of a community that wants the same, that reaches out with abundance to support those in need.  Through the many giving programs and service organizations here, hundreds and hundreds of homeless and impoverished children have received gifts, food, warm clothing, shelter, and much more. Thank you. Giving is a noble endeavor.

What makes me even prouder is the spirit and mindfulness in which our community gives. From speaking with many of our families, I realize that charity, even in its best and well-intended forms, is never free of humiliation for the recipients; it is difficult for them to have to ask for and receive help. These families need dignity just as much as food or gifts. So when I see giving programs that are designed to be as painless as possible for the recipients and people donating without the need for recognition, I know this is what giving is all about. It’s simply providing for the need without showcasing the charity. We are in service to others.

We are approaching our work in schools with the same filter. Fundamentally, the Tukwila School District’s mission is to educate children, but there are often social and emotional needs that get in the way. How do we give every child an equal footing while preserving their dignity? Here are few examples: We are looking for better ways to provide food to all children. We are exploring options to provide meals during breaks and after school, and we are piloting a Breakfast in the Classroom program that removes the stigma associated with showing up early to school to eat (would you be willing to single yourself out as impoverished at your workplace?). I am also thrilled to partner with Providence Health & Services to start a mentoring program that will bring consistent, positive, caring, career-oriented role models to Foster High every week.

Ultimately, I am blessed to work in a district where I can make decisions based on what is best for all children, surrounded by community members and colleagues who want and do the same. Thank you for being dedicated to this mission. Every child wants laughter, compassion, and love, and I believe that we as a school district are on the forefront of modeling what it looks like to create a community that works for everyone … not just some. We are striving to create a society that’s free of charity, free of second-class citizenship.

So let’s continue to support our neighbors this season and throughout the year. More importantly, let’s remember they are just that — our neighbors, human beings who want your friendship and respect as much as any handout.

From my family to yours, happy holidays!

In service,

Dr. Nancy Coogan

Tukwila School District Superintendent Dr. Nancy Coogan can be reached via email at coogann@tukwila.wednet.edu.

 

 

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