Jonny is seven years old. Every weekday Jonny gets himself ready for school and walks the short 200 metres down the road to his primary school to see his friends. By the time he gets to school, his ankles are hurting, and his legs are sore. Jonny makes a plan today. He has decided he won’t get into trouble. He promises himself he will not whinge about his sore legs; he will behave so his teacher doesn’t get mad and his mum won’t get upset. This is a promise that Jonny will likely break.
Every day is a challenge for Jonny as he tries to focus on his schoolwork. He wants to have fun with his friends in class and they think he is the ‘funny kid’, so he has to live up to his reputation. The classroom teacher is watching closely, anticipating the moment that Jonny loses control.
In a short time, it becomes clear that Jonny is frustrated with his schoolwork and begins to play distractedly. When Jonny is challenged, he begins embracing his ‘class clown’ act and challenges the teacher. This disrupts other students in the class and inevitably leads to Jonny being told to go to the office. Sitting on a chair in the office, Jonny holds his head down low and tries not to make eye contact with other adults in the office. He knows what’s coming. He knows he is in trouble again.
No-one knows that Jonny hasn’t eaten yet today. His mum was sleeping when he left for school and Jonny didn’t pack lunch or eat breakfast. There is food in the house, but mum was so tired after caring for Jonny’s dad through the night. You see, Jonny’s dad was in a serious car accident and needs a full-time carer. He is in pain constantly and this affects his mood, which makes the family home tense to live in. Jonny’s mum is working but earning just enough to keep a roof over their heads.
Jonny had a hearing test last year and needs a hearing aid, but mum couldn’t afford to pay the full price, so Jonny continues to struggle with his learning. He feels left out and not important because mum has to focus on dad. Jonny is embarrassed to tell his teachers that he can’t understand the work or what they are asking of him and he continues to fall behind. Jonny knows he is the ‘bad’ kid in school, but he wants people to see that he is trying. When the school calls mum for the third time that week, she knows they need support. This is the day she reaches out to SunnyKids and asks for help.
Thanks to a child sponsorship, SunnyKids has been working with the family for two months now. As a result of that donation, within a few weeks Jonny has been to see a podiatrist and is now wearing orthotics (donated by the podiatrist). Jonny is no longer in pain. He will need to wear these for the next two years, but he doesn’t feel embarrassed because no one can see them inside of his shoes. Although the family situation is not perfect, Jonny is well on his way to reaching his potential in a safe and functional home.
All names are fictitious to protect the family involved.
Would you like to help SunnyKids? You can sponsor a local child for $50 per month or $600 per year. If you would like to sponsor a child, please contact SunnyKids today on 5479 0394 or visit sunnykids.org.au. For more information about the programs and passion of SunnyKids, call the relationship and fundraising manager, Meagan Cross on 0434 044 402.