Samara Tilkens Postuma is raising five kids from infant to teen in the St. Michael area with her husband, Jeff. When not found driving kids to and from activities, helping with homework or at the park or pool, you can find her sharing her life online where she does some freelance writing and social media work and also writes at her own blog, www.simplicityinthesuburbs.com.

Posts about Politics

An Easy Service Project this Month {Evie Bags}

Posted by: Samara Postuma Updated: November 6, 2014 - 1:22 PM

This post originally appeared on my site, Simplicity In The Suburbs but I thought it worthwhile to share here too.

I saw him from across the street and I knew. I knew my little girl, with her bleeding heart for others, would stop and want to help him. Wind blowing, the crisp air biting our cheeks, we rushed across the street, me carrying Miss F, our friends just ahead of us and Miss E starts reading, "Home lllllesss...."

"and hunnnnn gry. Mom, he is homeless and hungry. We need to help him." She stopped right smack on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Delaware in downtown Chicago. Her feet are glued to the ground, she will not budge until we do something, anything to help this man who's sitting on the sidewalk, blankets and trash all around him.

I dig my hand in my coat pocket and grab a handful of change and hand it to her and she bends down, sticks it in the mans plastic cup and while dozens of people are walking every which direction around us, she makes eye contact with him as he says, "Thank you."

She tells him you're welcome and we are on our way and I am ever aware that she is on the lookout for more souls she can help. She looks back at him as we turn the corner and says, "I'm so sad he is homeless."

Hours later we are en route home, a seven hour drive ahead of us, I tell her I am proud that she stopped and helped that man.

"Oh mom, it's what I do," she says. "I help people." And she grins a solid grin that she does so well and says, "Don't forget we need to make some bags for people."

Yes, yes. I say and nod.

***

With the Holiday season approaching the requests of your time, money, resources are plenty. I am not under any illusion of otherwise. But this year we've decided that Miss E, our almost 6 year old, is on to something.

Her heart, you guys. Her heart for others, for homeless, for hungry, for those out in the cold. She doesn't understand why it is that some people have homes and others don't. She doesn't understand why some people are so hungry and all she wants to do is make it better.

So this month, we'll be packing up bags. As many as we can pack and we'll be handing them out all month {hopefully winter} long.

Will you join us? Will you help Evie and her plight to help others? Let's start with 100. We can do that, right? 100 bags for others. In less than 24 hours we've surely surpassed 100, we've updated the goal to 500! FIVE HUNDRED bags to help others! Help us!?

Here's how you can help support Evie's bags-

1. Make your own bags and hand them out to those who need them. This doesn't have to be just a Minnesota thing because there are homeless and hungry people everywhere. Now if you live far, far out in the suburbs, the idea of finding people to give these bags to might seem challenging. Call your local food shelf or drive in to your local big city.

2. As you put together the bags, keep it simple. A former homeless man I know said to avoid personal care items but include things like a snack and water and gloves. The Dollar Tree often has things like hand warmers that would be a great addition. I'm guessing we all have extra Halloween candy laying around that would be a good addition.

3. Include a personal note {no last names}. Evie's note of choice:

4. Pass those bags out. Wherever and whenever you can. You can pass along those bags to us and we'll pass them along OR you can tally the amount you make to give out and let us know so we can include them in our count and if all this is too much for you and you would rather donate to Evie's bags, shoot me an email at samarapostuma at gmail dot com and we will work something out.

5. Share this post. Invite your friends, coworkers, neighbors to take part to create some bags together.

Bonus: Will you take photos? Photos of your bags? Photos as you hand them out? And send them to me? I would love to do a compilation.

***

The thing that strikes me the most when it comes to Evie and the way she wants to help is the way that she truly sees people. She is unafraid, she is not awkwardly looking away as some of us adults do, she is not uncomfortable. Her act of helping those who need help is her way of saying, "I see you and you are loved and may this little bit I have to offer, help you."

So will you see those who need help this season, will you remind them that they are loved and will you offer whatever little bit you have to offer to help? If my little Evie can do it, I think we all can.

Do Zero Tolerance Policies Go Too Far?

Posted by: Samara Postuma Updated: May 8, 2014 - 1:54 PM

The story of Alyssa Drescher from Faribault County is all over the news, the web and the papers. Alyssa, a junior in high school, was expelled for the remainder of the school year, originally permanently, because a pocket knife, used for farm chores, was found in her purse at school.  The rule is the rule, says the school and expulsion is imminent for bringing a weapon at school. Her family and supporters though beg for reasoning and Alyssa worries about her future. 

Zero tolerance policies started to gain momentum in the 90's and supporters of them say that because there is no gray area, there are no exceptions or even favoritism. Yet those who criticize the policies say they are ineffective and typically cause severe consequences and repercussions for minor offenders. 

The rules are the rules and in my mind, the clearer the better, yet shouldn't some discretion be available to administrators? 

I can honestly see both sides. Alyssa's story is not unique, there are stories upon stories about how an honor student who doesn't have a reported history of trouble making makes an honest mistake and is punished. But if schools give preferential treatment or make an exception, does that allow other students to commit the same offense and claim it was a mistake as well?

What do you think? As a parent or community member how do you think this situation should be handled and then just for a minute pretend it was your kid, would you think differently? 

      

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