Richmond teacher fills her students’ brains and stomachs

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Richmond teacher is going Above and Beyond the Classroom. She saw that some students in her school were going hungry, so she decided to do something about it.

Louise Glasgow is a 6th-grade special education math teacher at Thomas C. Boushall Middle School.

“I actually chose to be a teacher because I wanted to have a hands-on experience working with the youth,” Glasgow said. “I don’t have any kids, so they ask all the time if I have kids and I say I have 120.”

She focuses on not just filling the kids’ brains but also filling bags full of food to fill their stomachs.

“We have kids that come in and they need supplies, they need clothes, they need food, they need love, they need attention,” Glasgow said.

“Sometimes when I don’t eat, yeah, I have to pretty much wait until I get home because I don’t like eating school lunch,” said Elise Hicklin, an 8th grader at Boushall.

Seventh grader Casey Mae agrees.

“Yeah, I think it’s cool because kids who need food at home, they have a chance to get it from the school and stuff,” Mae said.

Glasgow is part of the youth ministry at The Life Church located at 214 Cowardin Avenue in Richmond, led by Pastor Vernon Gordon and Pastor Aaron Gary. Members of the church wanted to donate food to a local school, so it was a perfect fit. She teamed up with her church and the Communities in Schools program to start this backpack nourishment program.

“It’s kind of just like fate,” Glasgow said. “It couldn’t have lined up any better.”

And each backpack is catered specifically to the student and his or her family.

“We pack them full every Thursday night and I bring them to the school and send them home with the kids for the weekend,” Ms. Glasgow said. “We try to accommodate to different allergies… we have one family, they’re pescatarian so we make sure they get seafood items such as tuna and things like that, and we have one family that’s allergic to tuna so we make sure she doesn’t get any of that.

Having food is already having a big impact on these students’ lives.

“It helps you concentrate in class and get more work done,” Mae said.

Boushall Middle School’s Principal Latonya Waller said so many children who come to the school are simply hungry.

“We understand that if they’re coming hungry or are in need of just basic things, that they’re not really fully ready to learn,” Waller said. “And it is making a difference… the kids are looking forward to it each week.”

Starting the Backpack Nourishment Program is just one reason why Principal Waller said Ms. Glasgow is going Above and Beyond the Classroom.

“Ms. Glasgow is amazing. You know, for a teacher to be in the classroom we fully expect with their contract to obviously teach the content, be caring towards the students, make sure they have good classroom management, but it takes an extra special person to see beyond just the academic needs of a student or a group of students and really care enough to say ‘you know what, I’m going to go this extra mile,” Principal Waller said. 

They hope to provide those backpacks to even more students. They’re just looking for families that want to participate and maybe a local bakery to donate fresh bread.

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