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A Time to Give Thanks by Joel Nelson

joel nelson In the month of November many traditions abound in our community. Hunting is a big tradition and even if you don’t participate you may witness many vehicles traveling through our communities as they drive “up north,” or somewhere in the state to enjoy this tradition with family and friends. As a country, we recognize our history and stop to reflect on the Thanksgiving holiday. Many of us share a meal together and usually spend time with family and friends around this Thanksgiving season. Some people also use this time to get started on shopping for Christmas gifts! Regardless of one’s traditions, most children are excited to celebrate, be with friends and family, and have some time away from homework.  However, that is not the case for every child.


As a husband, father, and man of faith, I have learned the value of counting my blessings. I also value the opportunity to share with those less fortunate than I.  As a board member, I have the opportunity to learn about the spectacular accomplishments of our children regularly and ISD 728 is doing a fantastic job of assisting our students. I also have the opportunity to support children and families through some of the most challenging situations one could imagine.  Many of our children experience hardship, especially during the holiday season.


Did you know:

  • There are more than 70 ISD 728 families that are currently homeless?
  • School officials work with law enforcement and county workers daily to resolve issues of abuse, neglect, and child endangerment?
  • Many of our children are afraid that when school is not in session over the holidays, they will not get to eat breakfast, lunch or dinner?
  • Many of our families do not have winter clothing, money to heat their home, or enough food to eat three meals a day?
  • Some of our children from split and/or broken homes will be physically sick because of their worries related to where they will stay, where they will celebrate the holidays, and emotions tied to parent communications or interactions.


These situations and feelings are present and part of the everyday life of some of our children and families. Let’s remember to give thanks for all that we have and to take some time to help others over the holiday season.  Ask your children about his/her friends who may need a little support, invite a child/family over for a meal if you are able, send leftovers home with your guests, reach out to the elderly, and pay special attention to the needs of those around you. Consider buying a few extra food items and dropping them off at your local food shelf. It matters!


Thank YOU for being part of ISD 728 and for working with us to care for all learners.