“It is as simple as one wish.”

By Emery Gewirtz

A day at the movies, new clothes for school or your own laptop. These are simple things a lot of us take for granted. When you were growing up did you ever think of where your dollhouse came from or what it took to have that new videogame? A lot of the time, children in foster care do not have these simple pleasures.


According to the website of the National Foster Care Coalition, every year around 254,000 children enter foster care. The foundation One Simple Wish works hard to support children who are becoming a part of the system. One Simple Wish does not want these children to get lost in the shuffle; instead they work to help them be seen as individuals.


Danielle Gletow, who is a foster mother herself, founded the organization in 2008. She, along with many volunteers and donors, has helped over 35,000 children to date. In 2013, CNN named Gletow amongst their “Top 10 Heroes.”


Gletow’s goal is to have kids be kids. Sometimes even the most basic wishes are the most meaningful to a child. Gletow sees children as full of endless possibilities. They can all can be extraordinary if they are given the tools to explore, grow and find out who they are.


One Simple Wish is a village of people who care about children. There are multitudes of people who volunteer time, donate money and of course, grant wishes. Anyone can be a fairy godmother to these children by granting a wish.


"Bird House Series 4"  By Kathy Bird
“Bird House Series 4”
By Kathy Bird

The beautiful thing about this organization is that it shows people can care deeply about others they will never know. If you just ask for help, a lot of people will answer the call.


Sarah Dale, the Community Relations Manager, said, “It is a an incredible journey. People care about the little things that bring normalcy to their lives.”


From a personal standpoint, Dale said, “I have kids and I can’t imagine my kids walking through even a portion of what these kids walk through.” This is why she has worked hard with One Simple Wish to grant nearly 99 percent of all wishes.


“Some people can’t be foster parents, but I can give my time to support them and draw attention to who they are as people and not who they are as a statistic,” Dale attested.


One Simple Wish also goes beyond helping children in foster care; they make sure the children are cared for after they leave. According to the website of One Simple Wish, more than 20,000 children age out of foster care each year with little to no support. At age 18, these children have no family, no siblings, no relatives and no mentors to turn to.


This foundation is needed because these are the children in critical need for real attention. According to the organization’s website, “Children who age out of foster care are several times more likely to end up homeless, addicted to drugs or incarcerated.” Furthermore, the website states, it is estimated that more than 250,000 prisoners in the United States were once foster children. The average child in foster care remains in the system for more than two years, living away from their family, friends and familiar environments.


Over 8,500 wishes have been granted since the organization opened it’s doors.


“It takes a lot of effort and takes a lot of people coming together,” said Dale. “But it gets done.”


So sometimes, perhaps, it is as simple as one wish.


One Simple Wish 1977 North Olden Ave, #292 Trenton, N.J.  08618 Phone: (609) 883-8484 Email: info@onesimplewish.org Website: www.onesimplewish.org

Homelessness in Trenton Schools

By Aphrael Boltas

History teacher at Trenton Central High School, William Pyper, recalled a student he had during his first year of teaching AP courses in the Trenton School District who was homeless.


Pyper said that she was a gifted student and had received a full scholarship to attend Carnegie Mellon. She nearly missed her opportunity when she needed to send in a deposit to the school to hold her place. However, Pyper said he was not going to let her pass up the chance, and offered her the money to pay the deposit. She attended the University that fall and even paid Pyper back with a refund from scholarship money. He said that she was one of the only students that he didn’t cut any slack who was in that situation and only because “she didn’t need it.”


Homelessness is an increasing issue for students in the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Education, in the 2012-2013 school year, over 1.2 million students were identified as homeless. In Trenton, homelessness is a tricky subject. Several teachers at Trenton Central High School spoke to me about their encounters with students who they knew or suspected to be homeless, how they responded to the students, and how they adapted their teaching style to better suit the students’ needs.


History teacher, Matthew Russell felt that the more pressing problem was poverty; that students would have a home, but there was not always food or other basic necessities.


Additionally, often times in Trenton, as well as other areas, students are less often homeless than they are staying with extended family or friends. This can bring a different  set of problems and can overshadow schoolwork.


Another recurring theme was that teachers felt a desire to help. Several teachers mentioned giving students money for food, or bringing in coats for them when the weather was cold. Nearly all of the teachers said they adjust their teaching style in that they become much more lenient when dealing with students who are experiencing homelessness. They understand if students are tired in class or if their work isn’t always in on time. They try to recognize that schoolwork is not the number one priority when you are worried about where you are going to sleep or eat after school.


"Getting Ready To Fly"  By Charles Smith
“Getting Ready To Fly”
By Charles Smith

Literature teacher, Kathy Mulcahey, said that she would never communicate with the student about experiencing homelessness directly, but if she felt that a student was struggling, she would “understand if they were sleeping in the earlier classes and make sure that they had something to eat.”


Most of the teachers I interviewed said that they hadn’t had too many of these students, about four or five suspected over their teaching career. One teacher said he heard that there are about a half a dozen a year out of about 2,000 students at the high school level in the district. Whenever they had a feeling that they had a student in this situation, they did their best to offer help.


Through my different interviews it became clear that homelessness is certainly a serious issue that can cause a range of struggles for students and interfere with their learning. Poverty is prevalent in the Trenton School District. The sentiment among each teacher I interviewed appeared to be, regardless of shelter: if a student is worried about where they will be getting their next meal, they’re not focused on their academics.

Pleading with my Ancestors

By Rose Browne


And as my pain run deep I find it hard to sleep so I twist and turn trying not to peek.


I feel like I’m being hunted by my ancestors. It feels like someone somewhere is trying to give me a message. As my ears rang out like a church bell, I try to listen and respond.


I try to the answer to the issue, a call.


But only when I tried everything seems so unresponsive, making it seems like I’m talking to myself. I feel strongly that they was trying to give me a message. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention. So I twist turn, and I twist and turn. Wondering whether or not I should get up and face my fear. Or should I stay in this dream, or is it a nightmare?


The ones that I claimed I never had were I gets up out of my sleep crawling on my knees in agony.


With bloody hands and feet,

pleading with my ancestors.

The Qualities of Being a Good Parent

By Michelle Miller


When I became a parent to my daughter “Nicole,” it was very hard for me trying to raise her by myself.

However, I did not give up on my number one child.

I worked very hard to take care of her and it paid off very well.

Nicole is doing wonderfully. She is in the United States Army and has been there for sixteen years.

I am very proud of her.

When I was raising Nicole I taught her everything she had to know.

One of the important things, when she was young, was making sure for her to know how to spell her name, tell her address and emergency number 9-1-1.

I think that every parent should teach their children how to share love.

With love you will always have a good heart and meet people who will share their love with you.

Sometimes I meet people in the world who do not show me love like I show love to them, but that doesn’t stop my love from my heart. It stays in my heart forever.

Caring is something very special to me. I like caring for many people; it makes me feel good to see people with a big smile on their face.

Caring is very important in being a good parent.

When you teach your children how to care, they grow up to become very special, caring people.

Wisdom and Knowledge

By Derrick “D9” Branch


Knowledge is to wisdom

like water is to cup.

The more of one you have,

the quicker the other one is filled up.

Wisdom is like knowledge,

but knowledge must come first.

The better quality of knowledge,

the more your wisdom is worth.

Some think they have wisdom much before their time,

but wisdom only comes with the maturity of the mind.

Some say that I am wise, and that I know a lot,

but I know only of my experiences and most of what I was taught.

In order to get wisdom of a solid, useful kind,

you must live long enough and do good with that time.

Wisdom is to knowledge like father is to son.

You must first have the latter, before the other one can come.