Our "Beau"tiful Blessing

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Bracelets for Beau

"People who make the world better for other people are some of the best people." ~Kid President

Last Thursday evening Andy and I received an email from Beau's (regular education) 3rd grade teacher at Hansen.  Page (Foss) asked if Andy and I would have time to come to her classroom as Beau's classmates had an idea they wanted to present to us.  All we knew was that the kids were inspired by Beau to do some sort of service project.  We set up an appointment to come to the school at 10 AM on Monday.

When Andy and I walked into the classroom, the students were gathered up front and seated on the floor and their power point type presentation was displayed on the white board.  You could tell they were excited/nervous to share their idea with us.  There were seats set aside for us and seated in chairs near the back of the classroom were Beau and his para Erin, looking excited to watch the presentation (I would later learn he had seen the presentation a time or two).

The presentation was opened by one of the students and about 6-7 of them gradually took turns speaking.  They were holding books that Mrs. Foss used as a part of her curriculum and they had pages marked.  The students read excerpts from them and explained how what they read made them think about certain real life scenarios.  We heard how the books that their teacher was using for their class all had emphasis on being kind to one another, being accepting of others, giving back to your community, etc.  Through all of these readings, these 9 year old third graders all came to one conclusion: the things they had been reading reminded them of Beau and of the inclusive park project. 

I was doing a pretty good job of holding it together but when Beau’s friend Drew got up to speak and a slide came on with a picture of Beau taken at school, smiling big, and on it was a list of all the amazing things about Beau that they loved – the tears started flowing.  I was able to chuckle a little as I heard Beau say “yay” with a little squeal from the back of the room and when we turned back to look he was smiling and pointing at his picture on the slide show. 

One of the little girls in his class had purchased some bracelets before where the money went towards various charities.  These kiddos, on their own, talked and wondered if they could make bracelets and then sell them to raise money for the inclusive playground.  They called their project, Bracelets for Beau.  They explained that they would make the bracelets before school and would stay in during recess so their educational time wouldn’t be affected.  The bracelets would sell for $1 and all the proceeds would go toward the inclusive park. They anxiously looked at Andy and I and wondered if this would be OK for them to do.  They had already pitched the idea and done their presentation to the principal and had gotten approval from administration. 

Their inspiration was their friend.  Their classmate.  Our son. 

I turned to Page and I wanted to confirm – had she had anything to do with their initial idea?  With tears in her eyes, she said no.  It was all the idea of Beau’s classmates/friends.  For her, it was a proud moment in teaching.  From the books she chose for her curriculum to the way she has made inclusion such a huge part of her classroom, she has every right to be proud.  Her leadership and her heart combined with third graders who have equally as much heart is proving to be a winning combination. 

We told those amazing kids that of course they could do this service project and that we would help them in whatever way we could.  Tomorrow night (Friday April 21st) Hansen Elementary will be holding their annual carnival.  They received approval from PTA to set up a table to sell $1 Bracelets for Beau.  This will be the kickoff for their service project and I would encourage anyone that is attending the carnival to stop by their booth and check out what these amazing kiddos are doing. 

I am so proud of these kids.  I know how scary it is to get up in front of an audience (no matter the size) and speak.  They spoke with such ease and conviction.  They completely understood the meaning behind the books they were reading.  Think about how selfless it is for them to give up a little extra time sleeping in the morning or giving up your recess time (especially this time of year) to make bracelets. 

At 9 years old, these kids get it.  I have always been more of an empathetic person but it wasn’t until I was faced with an intellectually disabled child that I realized what was truly important in life and just how selfless I could be.  If it wasn’t for Beau, I never would have started a non-profit and I never would have dreamed of working on an inclusive playground for my community.  

We could learn a lot from these young kids.  They don't see the differences like adults see them.   They knew they loved their friend and they knew they wanted to help build the playground he inspired in whatever way they could.  

Help these kids out.

Help support the Place to Play Park.

Buy Bracelets for Beau for $1 and all of the money goes directly to the park.  If you aren't attending the carnival please contact me and I can connect you with how to get some bracelets. 

More importantly, be inspired by the fact that an amazing group of 3rd grade friends did this because they loved Beau, their classmate and friend and they wanted to give back to their community. 

Just when I think his friends can't impress me any more than they already have, they do something like this.  

"You don't need a cape to be a hero.  You just need to care." ~ Kid President 

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