Some people don't have the life you have, be grateful, be thankful and be humble.
My whole life I have always had food on my table, a roof over my head, parents who cared, and I got the things I needed and wanted. Growing up, my parents taught me and my brothers that not everyone is blessed with the life we have given you and to be grateful for it.
Both of my parents worked at the same alternative school in Jersey, an alternative school is a school where students get displaced out of their original middle school or high school and get placed in this school instead. The school had maybe 70 students there. My mom was the principal at the school, and my dad was the security guard at the school.
When I was little I thought it was a "bad" school to go to, but my parents constantly reminded me, "it's not a bad school, the kids are not bad, it's just students who made a bad decision."
As I got older, the words could not describe it better, all these students have heart and inspired me.
Seeing it firsthand and hearing my parents speak about some of the students, sometimes just shattered my heart.
Some of the students slept under bridges, some were in gangs, some only had one outfit to wear each day, some didn't have food, some didn't have supportive parents or any parents, some were trying to raise their siblings while they were still kids as well, some never experienced the magic of Christmas, some didn't know what getting gifts were like, some didn't know the experience of eating a sweet treat and some never had that family love.
For me growing up, though, I slept in my bed each night with a roof over my head. I got new clothes each year for each season. I got to experience things like concerts, movie theaters and zoos. I had presents under the Christmas tree each year "Santa" came to town. I got gifts for birthdays, Easter and Valentine's Day. I had sweet treats after dinner each night, and I have a very supportive and loving family.
I can graciously say that I have a big heart because I witnessed my parents' wear their hearts on their sleeve. Over the years, I've seen my parents do everything imaginable to help their students.
For example, my dad would take my brothers and me to my grandparents' house prior to school in the morning, but we always stopped at 7/11 or Wawa. My dad would grab about 50 dollars worth of snacks, drinks and candy every single morning to hand out to the students at the school.
My parents would pick students up at their houses in the morning so they could gain the knowledge that when transportation plans failed, they were there. My parents would give students lunch money so they could eat. My dad brought board games into school so they could play games at lunch.
My parents bought some of the kids birthday gifts when their birthday came along, and they brought hygienic supplies to school for the students.
Now, I met a lot of students in my lifetime, and some of them came over to the house. They were always the nicest people. They showed tons of kindness and respect.
We had a pool, and the kids would spend hours swimming or learning how to swim. My parents took them shopping for clothing. Some came over and celebrated their birthdays with cake and presents, some came over around the holidays and baked cookies and decorated our trees with us.
They went to light shows, came over to play video games with my brothers and we took them out to eat, usually at a buffet so they could eat as much food as they wanted.
They applied for jobs on our computer, and none of them left without an experience or memory.
I personally feel that the staff and the students inspired me to always give, be thankful, be grateful and stay humble. My parents are true inspirations to always give, never make judgements, always help if you can, be kind always and love entirely.
I grew up going to their school on off days, bring your child to work days and holidays. It was certainly a place where love never went unannounced. It was a safe haven, everyone knew everyone and everyone became one big family.
My family might not have been an inspiration to you, but you all inspired us at one point or another.