Kids in his town were using trash bags as backpacks. He had a chance to change that, and he did.
Mike Morse is an attorney who lives in Michigan, where he owns and runs a law firm.
“I got a call from a mother who said the day before I gave her daughter the backpack, they were at a store and they literally had to make a decision between pencils and a new outfit for school … they were going without pencils until my backpack came. I get chills and well up with tears,” he said, trailing off.
The things we take for granted…
School supplies are important to kids. As many of us parents know, many kids are given supply lists at the beginning of each school year. But we don’t always stop to think about what happens to the kids whose families can’t afford to buy the supplies on those lists, especially when that’s the case for at least half the class.
“I have three daughters, and every year we go and get backpacks and supplies,” Morse said. “We take it for granted. My kids get backpacks and supplies, whether they need them or not. I wanted the kids to have that experience. It’s just a fairness thing.”
…even the small things can be so vital.
Morse also included a reusable water bottle in each backpack. He thought of it as just a throw-in item for fun, but he later heard from the teachers that the bottles were actually a big deal. “It’s 90 degrees in the schools that have no A/C,” Morse told me, “and they are all using these water bottles.”
Teachers have said that the backpacks and supplies are really helping to level the playing field for the kids.
In a city where more than half the children live in poverty, an act of kindness like this makes a big difference. And in some schools that benefited from the donations, things are even more dire. Morse told me that one principal said that over 70% of his school’s students live in poverty.
The backpacks aren’t going to fix all the problems in Detroit schools, but the people who work with the kids every day the principals and teachers agree: This is a big deal.