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9 handwritten notes from students to their teachers that are just heartbreaking

Kyle Schwartz started sharing the notes two years ago, and people responded — teachers, parents, child advocates and more.

9 handwritten notes from students to their teachers that are just heartbreaking

Five years ago, Kyle Schwartz asked her Doull Elementary class to fill in the blank: "I wish my teacher knew ______."

Her students’ answers shocked her, and she shared some of the notes on Twitter.

One read: "I wish my teacher knew how much I miss my dad because he got deported to Mexico when I was 3 years old and I haven’t seen him in 6 years."


Another read: "I wish my teacher knew sometimes my reading log is not signed because my mom is not around a lot."

Other students talked about having no friends, being bullied and lacking school supplies at home. Here are nine of the notes:

1. The kids shared thoughts about parents who were rarely home.

"I wish my teacher knew that my dad works two jobs and I don't see him much." All photos via Kyle Schwartz.

2. They explained that their parents were divorced.

"I wish my teacher knew that my mom got divorce 3 times."

3. They told her they were living in shelters.

"I wish my teacher knew that my mom and I live in a shelter."

4. They said they worried about their siblings every night.

"I wish my teacher knew that my little brother gets scared and I get worried about getting up every night."

5. They talked about feeling disconnected from their peers.

"I wish my teacher knew that my dad died this year, and I feel more alone and disconnected from my peers than ever before."

6. They shared secret family struggles.

"I wish my teacher knew that my mom and dad are divorced and that I am the middle child of 7 kids. 5 out of that 7 or (are) boys."

7. They revealed what they love most in the world.

"3 things I wish my teacher knew about me: 7 kids in my family, me being the second to youngest. I play basketball. I think I'm really good at writing."

8. They explained worries about having a place to sleep at night.

"I wish my teacher knew that my mom might get diagnosed with cancer this week and I have been without a home 3 different times this year alone."

9. They even shared intimate details about their relationships with their parents.

"I wish my teacher knew that I got kicked out of the house because of my mom's girlfriend, and now I don't have a relationship with my mom because of it."

"When students feel like they have a voice, that they're heard, they're really more open," Schwartz told local station KUSA last year. "They're more able to take risks in school."

The majority of Schwartz's students live close to or below the poverty line, and 50% are learning English at school, she said. About 44% of children in America live in low-income families, according to the National Center for Children in Poverty.

Schwartz started sharing the notes two years ago, and people responded — teachers, parents, child advocates, and more.

Instructors, even one working with Syrian refugees in Greece, began implementing the exercise in their own classrooms. Many share responses using the hashtag #IWishMyTeacherKnew.

"In my classroom, I can impact 30 students," Schwartz said. "When I share, I can impact classrooms around the world."

So in July, Schwartz published "I Wish My Teacher Knew," a teacher's guide to address poverty, grief, and home life in the classroom.

The book is full of student notes and stories like these as well as Schwartz's experiences and research on child poverty.

The cover of Schwartz's book.

Each chapter includes "teacher tools, too — actionable steps that teachers can take in their classrooms to make change," Schwartz said. The tips include having a food drawer with granola bars available to students who might be hungry and creating a memory book with students grieving a loss.

"My students are very aware that their notes are being a powerful force for advocacy," Schwartz said. "They know they are speaking up for kids who aren’t always listened to. That’s been a beautiful thing."

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

When the COVID-19 pandemic socially distanced the world and pushed off the 2020 Olympics, we knew the games weren't going to be the same. The fact that they're even happening this year is a miracle, but without spectators and the usual hustle and bustle surrounding the events, it definitely feels different.

But it's not just the games themselves that have changed. The coverage of the Olympics has changed as well, including the unexpected addition of un-expert, uncensored commentary from comedian Kevin Hart and rapper Snoop Dogg on NBC's Peacock.

In the topsy-turvy world we're currently living in, it's both a refreshing and hilarious addition to the Olympic lineup.

Just watch this clip of them narrating an equestrian event. (Language warning if you've got kiddos nearby. The first video is bleeped, but the others aren't.)

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