All this downturn is wanting me to help everyone, but my funds are limited

Sep 30, 2007
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I felt bad we couldn't afford more projects to help our contractor who did our bathroom. I feel bad that our 'help' to our electrician friend probably was a pebble in a bucket and now I'm wanting to help a kid out across the street because his family can't afford lessons for him and he really wants to take them. I gave him a ride home today after school clubs while I was dropping my son off for music lessons

And this one is the one the that is the hardest for me. He's 12 or 13, he plays the same instrument as my son. He currently is last chair in the top band (he's been playing for 3 years). My son is top chair in the lower band and he just started in September. My son just started taking private lessons at the band teacher's suggestion. This kid across the street can't and he says he really wants to but they don't have the money.

Most likely scenario? Come May when they do the yearly chair placement, my son will bump him out of the top band spot and not because of more determination or even talent, but because we can afford private lessons.

Of course, I want my son to succeed and be in the top band, but not like that. I'm seriously considering paying for this kid'sprivate lessons. If my son beats him out of the spot, I want it to be because he deserves it. Not because the other kid is too poor for lessons. And, It's those little things that can make a difference - someone who cared and helped them out in little ways that can help a kid pull through and do better not just THEN but for life. It can give him more hope... I know... been there.

But at the same time, we are 'cash poor' right now too. To buy new things, we are selling the old. We're not taking a vacation this year and are selling the 'second best' car now that we have a new one and holding onto the beater. I'm feeling so bad that I can't save the world, that I can't even really afford $80 a month to help another kid out. His parents are working two jobs each, they are the sweetest people, but they are immigrants and they are putting everything to their kid's future, but it's not enough.

It hurts me because I was there. I was that kid with musical talent, but came from a family on welfare (and they aren't on welfare). My band director every year would tell my mom and me that if I could get lessons... and piano... but even paying for music was a luxury let alone lessons.

In the end I was still pretty good, I still got univ. scholarships, but it felt horrible to see those less talented, who cared less, get the new horn instead of the rented one and lessons they hated and while I was 'OK' I probably could have been great. It's like the only talent I had, but had no means to pursue it.

Ugh... and if I help this kid, it won't stop there. I want to help everyone I know because we are doing OK while other good people are not, but I can't do it all...

but this thing with the kid is breaking my heart. But then, he has a brother a year older... I would hate leaving him out too... ugh..
 

intheevent

D. IT IS WRITTEN
O.G.
Nov 4, 2006
1,527
1
Chicago
Follow your heart. If you really want to help you should as long as its not a burden on you financially. If its a small sacrifice do it. You never know how your kindness could affect his future. I have people in my past that were almost strangers that helped me when my parents didn't have enough and to this day I will never forget and have even sought out some of those people as an adult 20 plus years later to say thanks. As long as it comes from the heart and you don't expect anything in return do it. I wish there were more people in the world like you. Our kids need people and community to take an interst in their future.
 

twinkle.tink

Choose to be happy
O.G.
Sep 19, 2006
21,304
221
in a fairy house
I know just what you mean, we do a lot, but every once in awhile it will get to me and I feel like there is much to do, and we should be doing more...there is a fine line between doing 'all you can' and still making sure you're saving, paying more principal on the mortgage, etc...to meet your own financial goals.

I started about a year ago trying to pare down our food budget, because I figured that was one place we could personally save...and that would be that much more we could help others with and not even miss it.

For us, we tend to help with the basics first...it would be lovely to help everyone with music or art lessons, etc...but, let's face it there are people who don't have a home or can't afford to eat.

I try to get the most bang for my buck when I shop to donate...

Every week when I grocery shop I buy what ever is a great deal (cereal, peanut butter, etc) and take it the emergency food bank at our church...this is a center that services our zip code, through referrals from Second Harvest Food Bank. These are people, usually families, in our neighborhood that are in desperate need of food. If there is a great sale on shampoo etc, I will buy that and take it to the homeless shelter and women's crisis center.

I also look for clearance sales, etc...last week I finally returned 2 sweaters (sadly, truly hideous) from MIL at JCPennys...since I didn't need anything I went to see if there was something for Emily...when I got to the baby section they were having an additional 50% off clearance prices...amazing prices. Sleepers for under 2.00, onsies were like .49...I bought every piece of clothing from newborn through 24 months. As I was piling it up at the register, the gal ringing me up was the manager of the dept...when she looked at me a bit odd, I told her I was going to take it to the women's crisis center...she said it was about to go to 75% off, so she would go ahead and give me that and I might check with Old Navy, next door, as they were having the same sale. I ended up with 4 huge bags from Pennys and 2 huge bags from Old Navy..and it was only about $250 and it was easily about $2000.00 worth of clothes.
 
Last edited:

lorihmatthews

A taste for the arts
O.G.
Oct 7, 2006
31,725
6,620
San Francisco
And this one is the one the that is the hardest for me. He's 12 or 13, he plays the same instrument as my son. He currently is last chair in the top band (he's been playing for 3 years). My son is top chair in the lower band and he just started in September. My son just started taking private lessons at the band teacher's suggestion. This kid across the street can't and he says he really wants to but they don't have the money.

Most likely scenario? Come May when they do the yearly chair placement, my son will bump him out of the top band spot and not because of more determination or even talent, but because we can afford private lessons.

Of course, I want my son to succeed and be in the top band, but not like that. I'm seriously considering paying for this kid'sprivate lessons. If my son beats him out of the spot, I want it to be because he deserves it. Not because the other kid is too poor for lessons. And, It's those little things that can make a difference - someone who cared and helped them out in little ways that can help a kid pull through and do better not just THEN but for life. It can give him more hope... I know... been there.
I applaud you paying attention to neighborhood kids and wanting to help them out.

Coming from a musical family ... and since my mom's a piano teacher and performer, I would pass on the private lessons for this kid. He's been playing 3 years and is last chair in his group of instruments? He might like to play, but that's not going to be his profession in life. Sure, lessons would be nice, but they're not going to earn him a scholarship to college. I will sound like the Wicked Witch of the West here but he's not "naturally" talented enough otherwise he'd be further ahead than he is already. Lessons will improve his technique, but if he hasn't shown a true musical gift by now, I can't see it happening.

My mom has had to have a lot of conversations with parents when they want their kids to continue with lessons. But the truth is that the kids just don't want it. They don't practice, they have no interest in learning the piano and they'd rather be elsewhere. Sometimes my mom has to tell the parents that their child is not cut out for piano and would be better off learning a different skill. And there's nothing wrong with that.
 
Sep 30, 2007
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VA (DC Burbs)
www.sweetmelissas.net
No, he's not last chair. They play the tuba - there are six students. He is third, my son is 4th. 4th chair plays in the low band as first chair. 3rd chair sits in the top band as last chair. And I'm telling you, their school music program is amazing. EVERYONE takes private lessons if they want to be in the top band. It's just the area we are in. There are 800 kids in his class and those who DO music, are good at it. Their 8th grade band sounded as good or better than my HS band and my HS band was one of the best in the state. Where I was in HS - a few had private lessons, but most of us did not.

And it isn't even that he will be some natural talent I'm trying to harvest.... it's something he wants to do. He thought it was cool I played in college - he wants to too. I'm thinking, what would it do to his hope and his outlook for his future to be afforded SOMETHING.
 
Sep 30, 2007
2,747
0
50
VA (DC Burbs)
www.sweetmelissas.net
I know just what you mean, we do a lot, but every once in awhile it will get to me and I feel like there is much to do, and we should be doing more...there is a fine line between doing 'all you can' and still making sure you're saving, paying more principal on the mortgage, etc...to meet your own financial goals.

I started about a year ago trying to pare down our food budget, because I figured that was one place we could personally save...and that would be that much more we could help others with and not even miss it.

For us, we tend to help with the basics first...it would be lovely to help everyone with music or art lessons, etc...but, let's face it there are people who don't have a home or can't afford to eat.

I try to get the most bang for my buck when I shop to donate...

Every week when I grocery shop I buy what ever is a great deal (cereal, peanut butter, etc) and take it the emergency food bank at our church...this is a center that services our zip code, through referrals from Second Harvest Food Bank. These are people, usually families, in our neighborhood that are in desperate need of food. If there is a great sale on shampoo etc, I will buy that and take it to the homeless shelter and women's crisis center.

I also look for clearance sales, etc...last week I finally returned 2 sweaters (sadly, truly hideous) from MIL at JCPennys...since I didn't need anything I went to see if there was something for Emily...when I got to the baby section they were having an additional 50% off clearance prices...amazing prices. Sleepers for under 2.00, onsies were like .49...I bought every piece of clothing from newborn through 24 months. As I was piling it up at the register, the gal ringing me up was the manager of the dept...when she looked at me a bit odd, I told her I was going to take it to the women's crisis center...she said it was about to go to 75% off, so she would go ahead and give me that and I might check with Old Navy, next door, as they were having the same sale. I ended up with 4 huge bags from Pennys and 2 huge bags from Old Navy..and it was only about $250 and it was easily about $2000.00 worth of clothes.
Of course, giving in this way is important too and we do donate similarly and always have - not just now, but sometimes helping in the 'wants' in life versus basic needs are what give people a better outlook on life, make them realize there are good people in the world and so on. That's why after WWII (and during) when everyone needed food and shelter, they still gave out chocolate to the kids. Because it gave them a pleasure during all the unpleasantness. My MIL still talks about how treasured those chocolate bars were - it lifted their moral and gave them hope that better times were coming.
 
Sep 30, 2007
2,747
0
50
VA (DC Burbs)
www.sweetmelissas.net
Follow your heart. If you really want to help you should as long as its not a burden on you financially. If its a small sacrifice do it. You never know how your kindness could affect his future. I have people in my past that were almost strangers that helped me when my parents didn't have enough and to this day I will never forget and have even sought out some of those people as an adult 20 plus years later to say thanks. As long as it comes from the heart and you don't expect anything in return do it. I wish there were more people in the world like you. Our kids need people and community to take an interst in their future.
That's exactly how I feel. I think my plan is to talk to the band director to get a feel for this kids talent and attitude about playing and then, if it seems he has the talent and motivation, I'll see where I can scrape to save $20 a week. I think I can find it.

When I was in HS, I had people who did things for me of a similar magnitude that I think DID make me be the kind of person I am today.
 

kattykay

sofa king sexy!
Jun 8, 2008
4,467
0
new jersey
Thats really nice of you. I feel really bad in todays times that I have money and other dont. I am currently gathering things to take to a homeless tent city a few towns over. I truly feel bad for these people and would love to help them out. I also find myself doing so many more ROAK's lately. Today at target there was a woman whos bill was $50 and change and she only had $40 in her wallet. I could tell she didnt have all that much money and she was just buying diapers and formula and stuff like that so I just tolld the cashier to add my bottle of water and I paid the entire check for her. She offered to buy me a sandwich from panera but I turned her down. Your *trying* to do a very good thing, and even if you cant afford it since you have music background maybe you can try teaching him something.
 
Sep 30, 2007
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VA (DC Burbs)
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Thats really nice of you. I feel really bad in todays times that I have money and other dont. I am currently gathering things to take to a homeless tent city a few towns over. I truly feel bad for these people and would love to help them out. I also find myself doing so many more ROAK's lately. Today at target there was a woman whos bill was $50 and change and she only had $40 in her wallet. I could tell she didnt have all that much money and she was just buying diapers and formula and stuff like that so I just tolld the cashier to add my bottle of water and I paid the entire check for her. She offered to buy me a sandwich from panera but I turned her down. Your *trying* to do a very good thing, and even if you cant afford it since you have music background maybe you can try teaching him something.
OMG, I never thought of that!!! I'm not great at bass clef as I was a treble clef gal, but my son does and they are friends, but I know enough about music to at least HELP HIM and Adrian plays piano too and can help too. Dude, thank you! I can help him and so can my son. This boy has taught my son some art stuff...

OK... now to find someone who is fluent in Chinese to help explain it to the parents as they are not fluent in English - we do lots of smiling and gesturing and just asking the son to ask the parents may not seem genuine.

How can I do that? I could kiss you. It's a way to help without making them feel like a charity case and it can fit in my budget because it's just a service... THANK YOU!!!!
 
Sep 13, 2007
6,030
3,455
The prairies of the Midwest
Berryblondeboys,

That's really cool what you're going to do. Talk to the music teacher, find out the level of the boy's interest in music, then talk to the parents. You'll be able to figure out some way to help.

When I was a kid my mom couldn't afford music lessons. But I so wanted them, even though I had no music talent and a truly wooden ear. (How wooden? My high school counselor called me to the office to tell me that the music teachers had requested that I drop out of their a capella and music theory courses.) My grandmother, who actually had even less money than my mom, paid for just a few months of lessons at a hoity-toity music conservatory. It was all she could afford. But it was like a Cinderella fantasy come true. I loved every minute of it. All that music, feeling like I was a real musician. Pure heaven!

Not long afterwards I lost most of my hearing to a neurological disorder (the real reason why I had a wooden ear). But all these years later I still have those beautiful memories of those few months at that special music school and the great care and indulgence of my mother and grandmother. And that as they say makes all the difference! ;)

Do it!
 
Aug 29, 2008
4,639
3
OP, it's very sweet what you want to do for the other boy. I was going to say that you should be very careful how you approach the parents about this because many would react badly, but once I saw your mention that they are Chinese -- probably a really bad idea, especially if he's not actually a welfare kid and the lessons are pretty darn cheap at twenty bucks. It sounds like his parents can technically afford the lessons but don't put it as a priority.

Since your sons are friends, maybe your son can help the other boy out by passing on what he learns in his lessons? It could be a good experience for both of them.
 
Sep 30, 2007
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VA (DC Burbs)
www.sweetmelissas.net
OP, it's very sweet what you want to do for the other boy. I was going to say that you should be very careful how you approach the parents about this because many would react badly, but once I saw your mention that they are Chinese -- probably a really bad idea, especially if he's not actually a welfare kid and the lessons are pretty darn cheap at twenty bucks. It sounds like his parents can technically afford the lessons but don't put it as a priority.
OK, maybe I'm might need to ask some Chinese people here if it is something approachable, but assuming they have money when they DO NOT and just don't want to spend it on music is a pretty big generalization you are making.

The mom works at two jobs - like cleaning and behind the scenese stuff at Wal-mart I believe. I'm not sure what the dad does, but they work HARD and are always there when the kids get home (mom is). They bought their townhouse about the same time as ours and theres is a little bigger, so cost more. I KNOW how much they have to be paying for that mortgage and extra money can't possible be foating around. ALLLLLL the homes in our area are like that (our county), but people pay more because of the schools.

I remember people used to tell my Mom, it' only $5 or $10... MAN, when you have NO MONEY, it means NO MONEY - $20 a week may seem like nothing or cheap to you, but for some it's a day of food for the family. That's $80 to $100 a month.

Lastly, I think music is important to the family otherwise Mom would have hauled that tuba to and fro school two years in elementary (at jr high and HS they have enough tubas to keep one at home and then they all share a few (with their own mouth pieces) at school).
 
Sep 30, 2007
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VA (DC Burbs)
www.sweetmelissas.net
OMG, I never thought of that!!! I'm not great at bass clef as I was a treble clef gal, but my son does and they are friends, but I know enough about music to at least HELP HIM and Adrian plays piano too and can help too. Dude, thank you! I can help him and so can my son. This boy has taught my son some art stuff...

OK... now to find someone who is fluent in Chinese to help explain it to the parents as they are not fluent in English - we do lots of smiling and gesturing and just asking the son to ask the parents may not seem genuine.

How can I do that? I could kiss you. It's a way to help without making them feel like a charity case and it can fit in my budget because it's just a service... THANK YOU!!!!
my husband burst my bubble last night. He said that you really need to know something to teach something and I don't know tuba - if I did, why are we paying for private lessons for our son - and he's right. I helped him about as far as I could...sigh...
 
Aug 29, 2008
4,639
3
Sorry, OP, didn't mean to jump to conclusions! I should have just asked for more detail, but thanks for adding it. I'm changing my opinion here -- I think it can't hurt to ask. Whether or not they accept, they will appreciate that it's out of the goodness of your heart. You're very sweet to want to do this.

And just another thought -- what about private group lessons for the two boys together? It might be fun and a bit cheaper, and two is not so many that they couldn't both get a lot of value out of the lesson.
 

kattykay

sofa king sexy!
Jun 8, 2008
4,467
0
new jersey
Well if you cant teach, since your son goes maybe he can pitch in and help by teaching him lessons he has already learned but the other kid has not.