Fourth grade student asks for ‘happier life’ for Christmas

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NEW ORLEANS – City Council Member-elect Jay Banks says he was dumbfounded when a fourth grade student asked for a “happier life” for Christmas.

In an emotional Facebook post, Banks, who was recently elected to represent District B, says he encountered the child’s wish while working with the annual Angel Tree program at the Dryades YMCA.

Community members come together to donate to the Angel Tree program each year to make the wishes of the students at  James Singleton Charter School come true for Christmas.

Banks says he randomly selected a form from a stack that had been filled out by dozens of children of different ages. The children don’t fill out the forms themselves. Instead, a teacher or counselor sits down with the students to ask them what they want because in the past, they weren’t able to read the children’s handwriting.

In the one that caught his eye, the child asked for just two things: new shoes and a happier life.

“Put this in context, a 4th grade child has the opportunity to ask for what he wants for Christmas and this is what he asks for,” Banks wrote. “A new bike, an xbox, other toys or a multitude of other things would not have surprised nor alarmed me but for a 4th grader to ask for a happier life is heart wrenching.”

Banks said that while he can’t specifically remember much about the fourth grade, he does “know I wasn’t wishing for a happier life.”

“My thoughts are; what is this child going through; how many other children like him are going through the same things; how can I help; why did I have pull this one?” Banks wrote. “I’m perplexed and don’t know what to do.”

The post drew immediate comments of support from dozens of people, with many offering support in many different forms, from Christmas gifts to offers to mentor the student.

The Dryades YMCA collects donations for a range of programs designed to help the surrounding community year round. Click here to find out how you can help.

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