The other day I bought a cake for a friend celebrating her birthday. After helping pass out a piece to all present, I sat down to have mine only to find that I had mistakenly not left one at my place. While everyone enjoyed his or her cake, I felt left out. It’s not good to feel left out, especially during the holidays.
In the December 21, 2015 issue of Education Week’s In Many States, Prospects Are Grim for Incarcerated Youths. The author, Denise R. Superville, documents cases against states that have not lived up to the federal law, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and left them out. They have left them out of services they so badly need, like GED preparation, transitional plans back into the mainstream, and educational services that we would never allow our children to miss out on. And surprise, surprise, young people of color, African-Americans and Latino students make up a disproportionate percentage of these youth.
Some people work very hard at making sure others are not left out. Nineteen-year-old Andrew Brennen is one such person. Andrew serves as the National Field Director for Student Voice, an advocacy group of college age students striving to get students’ voices heard when it comes to educational decisions. This group has nine director students working in various capacities including technology and digital strategy, students’ rights and school partnerships. They are working not only for college students but also for elementary students, making sure their voices are heard in deciding educational programs and policy.
This holiday season join me in wiping out being “left out”. Here are just a few ideas.
- Visit a friend in the hospital, nursing home or prison – This is probably the easiest and yet for some of us the hardest act and yet or so appreciated by someone “left out”.
- Look for the “left out” – While with family and friends this holiday season make a special effort to ask a friend who you suspect may be by themselves to join you. If this isn’t a family tradition, maybe suggest that it become one in the future.
- Get involved – Maybe you feel left out. Make an effort to do something for someone else and get rid of the “left out” feeling.
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