Friday, January 30, 2009

Saving the Children

Standing next to Mayor Riley as he announced the launch of an already successful fund drive to keep the doors of the Charles Webb Center open, I had one of those moments of cosmic introspection. The Webb Center serves special needs children. A little girl in a hooded jacket looked up at me and smiled. Without question her parents depend on the Webb Center to provide an education and daycare for her, care that she simply could not receive elsewhere. If the Webb Center were to close her family would not be able to hold down two jobs, care effectively for the rest of their family, or provide her with a stimulating educational environment.

As the reporters shouted out questions for the Mayor I wondered about how the cameras were recording the children in wheelchairs; the kids who brought tears to the Mayor's eyes. I wondered how the TV audience would see the dozens of grateful parents. I wondered about the children at home who would see the news report and ask their parents why the special school was forced to close.

Would an exhausted parent, home from a long day at the work say to his child, "Well, the Webb Center must not have enough people who care." Or would he say "Its a dog-eat-dog world out there. Not all nonprofits can survive" Or would he sit up, get out his checkbook, and use the moment to make a point to his child who could have been, had the cards been dealt differently, a student at the Webb Center.

It made me wonder which children were being saved at that moment.

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