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Helping Families in our Public Schools

Helping Families in our Public Schools

"Kasserian Ingera" - And how are the children? ~ A Maasai greeting

by Rev. Randy Knighten on June 20, 2023

Helping Families in our Public Schools

Maya and I have purchased a lot of school supplies over the years. Our oldest son is 19 and preparing for his sophomore year of college and our youngest son is 16 and preparing for his junior year in high school. Between the two of them, we have spent hundreds of dollars on crayons, notebooks, folders, pens, pencils, markers, scissors, erasers, pencil sharpeners, tissues, Clorox wipes, glue sticks, and hand sanitizer, to name a few things. All of these items are very important in classroom settings, but for many families adding the costs of school supplies to a budget that is already stressed can be a major financial burden.

In AISD schools, 55% of students qualify for free and reduced lunch, a metric often used to measure poverty. In the state of Texas, 6 out of 10 public school students live in or are nearly in poverty, according to a report from the Southern Education Foundation. It also found that, for the first time, more than half of the nation’s public school students were from low-income families. Going back to school can be difficult for kids. There’s peer pressure, homework, and tests. Fifteen million children living in extreme poverty in the US face even greater difficulties — not having the supplies to learn along with not knowing where they’ll get their next meal.

A greeting shared with the Maasai people of Africa is "Kasserian Ingera," which means, "And how are the children?" It continues to be a traditional greeting among the Masai and it reminds them of the high value that the Masai place on the well-being of the children of the community. The traditional answer, "All the children are well," means that peace and safety prevail in the community and the most vulnerable are cared for. As people of God, we are continually reminded in the teachings of Christ to care for those who are in need around us. We can care for our community by finding ways to care for our public school students and their families.

As Saint John’s prepares for its 75th birthday, the Risk-Taking Mission and Service Committee will be leading a project to collect enough school supplies to fill 75 backpacks. These backpacks will go to children in need throughout our community to make sure that they are well-prepared for school. We will be working directly with Casa Marianella and AISD mental health counselors to help families that are in need of support at the start of a new school year. Please be on the lookout for details about how you can participate in the Saint John’s 75th birthday service project. If you have any questions, please email me at

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