September Newsletter

Dear friend of Loaves & Fishes,

One of our Mustard Seed Students

As Angela Hassell, the Director of Mustard Seed School, enters a classroom where the children are playing board games, a six-year old boy hurtles across the room and leaps into her arms. “Miss Angie” greets him by name and calmly lets him hug her for as long as he wants, which is, in fact, quite a long time. Thus fortified, “Dominic” returns to his group activity.

Mustard Seed is a place of warmth and connection, of learning and of growth. People sometimes make assumptions about homeless families but Mustard Seed parents care about their children in the same way that non-homeless parents do. They deeply appreciate the education and enrichment that Mustard Seed provides its students.

Some new students have a defensive or street smart attitude at first but it quickly drops away as the children realize that no one at Mustard Seed is judging them. One eight year old, all big brown eyes and big front teeth, whose face hasn’t yet caught up with those new permanent teeth, said after his first day, “ Today, I’m a newcomer but tomorrow I won’t be - I’ll be the one welcoming the new students!”

Some children are at Mustard Seed for only a day, others for months. They live in shelters, in cheap motels, in cars or campers. Mustard Seed gives the children a sense of stability when much in their lives isn’t predictable. Each child is given a computerized Scantron test to assess their skills and the individualized attention that Mustard Seed’s small size permits. A trained counselor spends a full day each week at Mustard Seed, working individually with children and parents and leading classroom discussions. The school’s outreach staff meet individually with each parent, helping them navigate the maze from homelessness to regaining a home for themselves and their children.

Mustard Seed assembles a file of information for each child to take with him or her to his new school, including attendance records, the results of the individual testing, samples of the child’s work, birth certificate, immunization record, often a letter from his or her teacher. To make it a bit easier to be the new child in class, each child is given new socks, shoes, underwear and school uniform and a backpack stuffed with school supplies for his or her first day.

One of our Mustard Seed Students

We hope that each child will leave with his or her self esteem a little bit higher, with positive memories and strengthened skills. We know we’re succeeding when Dominic, whom you met in the first paragraph of the letter, exclaims while on a Mustard Seed field trip, “This is the best day of my life!” How can you help?

• Volunteer. Mustard Seed welcomes new volunteers who can come one morning or afternoon weekly. To schedule an orientation, call Liana Luna at 916 447-3626.

• Donate needed items. Please refer to the Mustard Seed needs list

Financial support. Your gift gives a child a safe, caring school when he or she needs it most.

Thank You.
   

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Street Address:
1351 North C. St.
Sacramento, CA 95811

PO Box 13495
Sacramento, CA 95813

Phone: 916-446-0874
Fax: 916-446-0875

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