Many people argue that academic achievement solely depends on a student’s efforts and hard work. That means that every student has the same opportunity to excel at school. What supporters of this view fail to acknowledge is that there is hardly a level playing field for students from different backgrounds.
Our privilege blinds us to the many obstacles faced by students from underprivileged backgrounds. Some children commute for hours to get to school in the morning, while others have no access to a public library in their neighborhood.
Other students with excellent athletic abilities cannot pursue sports because their job timings don’t allow training. At the same time, another group of children cannot use the internet freely to complete their research and assignments.
There is no shortage of challenges for underprivileged students when pursuing their education. It is a miracle how these continue to children persevere and manage to achieve academic success. As adults, it is our responsibility to help these children overcome the obstacles in their path.
In this article, we will discuss how we can play our part in assisting underprivileged students to achieve their true potential and find success in their lives.
1. Fight for School Counselors
School counselors play an essential role in helping underprivileged children. For troubled children, school counselors play the role of a friend who helps them get through their negative emotions.
Since children from underprivileged backgrounds are often exposed to violence, substance abuse, and toxic family lives from a young age, they often develop mental health issues such as depression. School counselors help fight through these problems.
However, the issue is that most school counselor state laws around the country do not make it mandatory for schools to have a counselor on campus. This means that many children do not get the help they desperately need.
As responsible citizens of society, it is our job to stand up for the rights of these children and demand school counselor laws be changed. You can start by writing to your local representative with your concerns and putting together a petition to be signed by all allies to be sent to your state governor.
Even though these measures may not have an immediate effect, they will at least start the conversation, which is the first step to bringing about change.
2. Support Education NGOs
Some people dedicate their lives to improving the education system and giving underprivileged students the same opportunities as their peers. Some NGOs run school-like education centers where students from low-income backgrounds can get specialized attention.
At the same time, others focus on improving community literacy so that children grow up in a more academic environment. Some NGOs also provide children with grants and scholarships to attend private academies or special courses that can add to their academic portfolios.
There are many ways you can support an education NGO. The most common mode of support is through donation. NGOs operate solely through donations. Hence, your contribution can make a significant impact in supporting the cause.
However, if you want to get involved in a more hands-on way, you can choose to volunteer at an NGO. Since NGOs do not have ample funds for staffing, volunteers are highly appreciated.
3. Become an Ally
Every child is different and needs a different kind of support. It can be financial, emotional, social, or any other aspect of everyday living that a child needs help in. While we, as laymen, may not know the specific needs, some organizations do.
There are generally charities and NGOs. However, many government and semi-government organizations also help in this regard. Get in touch with your local social workers’ department to get more information.
By registering yourself as an ally, you can make yourself available in whatever way a child needs. For instance, if you have a small business, you can offer part-time jobs to underprivileged teenagers.
Similarly, if you speak another language, you can offer to teach English to refugee and immigrant children, or if you possess a technical skill, you can provide free classes to underprivileged students. Remember, any way you can help will be appreciated by the students.
4. Sponsor a Child’s Education
The public school system in America is quite good, but private schools offer many benefits that can help unlock a student’s potential. However, private schools are generally expensive, and they are impossible to afford for underprivileged students.
You can step in and offer to sponsor a child’s education. This includes the tuition fee and ancillary costs such as uniforms, books, extra-curricular, etc. Therefore, you should only opt for this option if you can afford the cost.
Reach out to a private school of your choice and meet with their principal to discuss sponsorship. You can opt to be an anonymous sponsor, or you can get to meet the child you will be helping. The choice is entirely up to you.
Either way, you will make a real difference in a child’s life by giving them access to an education they could not otherwise have received.
5. Donate Supplies
Students from underprivileged backgrounds often struggle to purchase school supplies. Textbooks, school bags, stationery, etc., all add up to a significant amount which is hard for low-income families to afford.
You can play your part in helping these children by donating school supplies. You can purchase supplies yearly and take them down to your nearby public school or local Salvation Army. They will ensure that the supplies go to those who need them most.
Alternatively, you can also choose to donate to underprivileged students directly. One way to do that is to start a Facebook Page offering school supplies for such children. Ask parents to reach out and, after carrying out the due verification, hand over the supplies to them.
While this may be a small investment on your part, it can be a tremendous help to a child from an underprivileged background.
Underprivileged students have to work twice as hard as their peers to get to the same level as them. This is due to a lack of access to other children’s resources. With the tips highlighted in this article, you can help bridge this gap and provide underprivileged kids with the necessary support to achieve academic success.