Tag: backpacks

Inspiration is everywhere!

Inspiration is everywhere!

People change lives.  Everyday this happens, a person changes someone else’s life.  That’s quite a bit of power to be able to literally change someone’s life.  That’s actually incredible if you truly think about that.  Strangers, doctors, retail associates, food servers, teachers, police officers, managers, etc.  They all have the power to change someone’s life in such a positive and meaningful way.  Any person can change a life and I have had many that have changed mine recently.

First and foremost, I am mostly positive, not always, but mostly.  I like to believe that people do good and deep down are good.  I hope to leave my house each day knowing that there are going to be people that I have the ability to impact in a great way.  While I hope to have that impact, there are also so many people that change mine (probably without even realizing it!).  I like to think about how the small things people are doing are changing my life in a pretty cool way.  This first group of people that has regularly and frequently been changing my life are the Lowe’s employees.  They always seem to make me smile even if it’s the second or third time I’ve been in my local Lowe’s store.  They add smiles and humor to my life.  From the carpet guy to the countertop lady, to the guy in doors yesterday who said to us in a joking way, “Aren’t you done renovating yet?…” , our trips to Lowe’s have become an adventure.  Nearly every employee knows us when they see us coming, many ask about the progress on our house, if we are finished painting, requesting to see pictures, or just saying something like, “You’re back again” or “I think I’ve seen you every day this week”.  While it might seem crazy, it seems like their humor and smiles makes us feel like family.

Lowe’s might seem odd, but it’s renovation time and that means life is crazy!  I must find the small things in life and their impact is helping me get through the chaos!  As for the others, I met two phenomenal people that just happened to impact my life.  Both inspired me and motivated me.  The first, an amazingly successful person that owns a business in California.  He’s gone through many different phases in life and has had many different adventures, many of which I was a bit envious of, but mostly because they aligned with goals I hope to achieve at one point in my life.  Generally, he’s lived abroad and I dream of doing that, he has the ability to give back in a very large capacity and I hope to do that more and more, and he’s got a calm and pleasant demeanor that makes him admirable in his role as a business owner (I hope to become more calm with each school year!).  Generally, we meet a lot of people, but this was a person that I felt like really appreciates giving back and that’s of course something I can get behind!  As someone that would love to continue to expand my backpack drive, even possibly forming it into a non-profit, it was cool to hear that he has a passion and heart for giving back, too.  As a side note, I met him at a presentation he gave to my early bird class and he later inspired a story that my afternoon classes wrote together.  We created a “class story” together and it started with, “One day Mrs. Jamieson’s class went on an adventure to California to open a computer technology company…”.  It was cool to see the class use their imagination based on a speaker that impacted my life.

Finally, a speaker for my early bird class came and shared a life-changing story that was beyond inspirational.  The story he shared about his cousin who died of cancer was heartbreaking yet motivational.  He used that sadness and turned it into a way to change the lives of others.  The way he has used his cousin’s death to help others with cancer through exercise is one of the coolest, selfless, and inspiring acts that I have heard.  The amazing things that his program, Strong Survivors, is doing for cancer patients to improve their lives has made a lasting impact on my life.  It really gives me more perspective on why I think life is about helping other people.

With all of that, these people have not only impacted my life, they have helped me, motivated me, and inspired me.  They have made me laugh, smile, and reaffirm why helping people is what life is all about.  It gives you purpose and that will give more to you in life than money ever will.  Keep on smiling, giving, helping others, and #AlwaysChooseKindness!

~jj

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Backpacks: Here, There, & Everywhere!

Backpacks: Here, There, & Everywhere!

It’s February!  For most, that means more winter weather (and maybe some snow!), hearts, pink and red, Valentine’s Day, heart health awareness month (Go Red) and all the other stuff in between.  For me, it means backpacks, and lots of them, at school, at my house, at community dropboxes…basically, here, there, and everywhere!  This is because February is the month I partner with Circle K of SIU and coordinate a backpack drive for my school and the local Boys and Girls Club.  I collect gently used and new backpacks to provide for students that cannot afford them.

Circle K is a branch of Kiwanis International which is under the same umbrella as Key Club, a club that is often a student organization in high schools, including the one I teach at.  I remember being an active Key Club member in high school.  I loved the community projects Key Club helped with and the volunteer work that came along with it.  This is why I feel especially happy to partner with this Registered Student Organization (RSO) at my local university.

Here’s a chance for you to declutter your house and free up some space: Donate any new or gently used backpacks, duffle bags, and totes to my Backpacks for Success project.  You can find locations at the SIU Student Services Building, SIU Morris Library, SIU Student Center, and the Neighborhood Co-Op.

With your help and the support of many others I have been able to see firsthand what a difference these backpacks make in the lives of students.  Many of them have heavy books to carry and cannot afford the expense that comes along with buying a backpack, plus it’s something their family is unable to fulfill for them.  This is why it is my hope to help provide to those that need backpacks so that they have the basic necessities to be successful in school.  It touches my heart to see so many who are willing to change the lives of students and the world’s future generations by donating a backpack.  With each backpack, we are changing a life, and with that change we are making it possible for a child to feel more prepared and successful in their school environment.  Thanks to all who donate – please spread the love by sharing this post!

~jj

#ProjectKindnessBook

#AlwaysChooseKindness

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Finding meaning among structured chaos!

Finding meaning among structured chaos!

This new adventure at my old high school has proven to be a very fun one.  I love getting involved and supporting the students.  The atmosphere is awesome and that’s probably what I love most about being there.  There are great ways to give back and that’s what I find really cool about it.  I have the opportunity to impact the lives of young high school students and that’s pretty remarkable.  I have the chance to inspire, motivate, and encourage them to follow their dreams and find something they are extremely passionate about.

Since joining the CCHS team, I have helped at a robotics competition (which I knew very little about), volunteered to judge our school’s talent show, and on a more personal level I have begun working on a project to collect backpacks for Carbondale students who cannot afford them.

I have learned that some things work really well in the classroom and some ideas don’t come to fruition the way I anticipate them to.  I have taken notes and written pointers, hoping to improve projects and activities for next year.  I have gotten to know my students much more, and that’s something I really enjoy.  Beyond the quizzes, handouts, projects, presentations, and work that I do with my class, I hope I leave a small imprint upon their life that inspires them to go out into the world and do something for others – to give back, be kind, and be willing to offer a helping hand to someone else.  I hope I inspire my students in ways that help build their self-esteem and confidence.  More than anything, I want my students to know they can come to me when they need a listening ear.  After all, teachers are not only there to teach their students, but to motivate them, mentor them, and offer positive reinforcement along the way.

I challenge teachers who feel stressed, overwhelmed, and exhausted (which I do!) to remember to channel the reason why you entered the profession to begin with.  You have the power to do so much in your classroom.  While there are benchmarks to make, topics that have to be covered, and work that has to be completed, remember that your students need you.  They need your support, kindness, and help because while you’re pushing papers around and doing work, you are also shaping a person.  We, as educators, have the ability to change a student’s life!

As this second semester wraps up, be sure to consider your role in your students’ lives and in the community.  As a new high school teacher, I feel a bit overwhelmed, at times lost, and sometimes surrounded by structured chaos.  Sometimes adding more stress, more projects, more chaos, or more anything seems impossible, but it is actually always possible. With a wedding in less than a month (that has turned into something far bigger than I wanted or anticipated), the publication of my #ProjectKindnessBook, and planning meaningful lessons, I feel like my life is zigzagging in lots of directions.  Some days I feel defeated, but I keep swimming.

~jj

#ProjectKindnessBook

#AlwaysChooseKindness

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