I saw a post on Perry Township Chat (Facebook) that warmed my heart. It was from Tim Griffin, a special needs teacher at my alma mater, Perry Meridian High School. He is teaching LIFE SKILLS to his class even though that is not what he is paid to teach, he adds it to the curriculum because it is important. You see Tim Griffin has worked in the corporate world for Fortune 500 companies most all his life and he was also an entrepreneur. He knows the value of the life skills he is teaching to his special needs class. I daresay, these skills should be mandatory for every class prior to graduation.
I collected a box of prizes (from my basement) that I hoped would be of interest to his class for the Spring auction (see story below.) In addition, I had just attended the Fair Housing Summit and collected a series of posters expounding on the rights of all people and how love is the most important attribute we can share.
Perry Meridian Memories of 1975
Driving into the parking lot of Perry Meridian High School brought back many memories not the least of which when I fell off my platform heels in the parking lot over 40 years ago. My class of 1975 was the first graduating class. I had been a tutor for special ed kids since Perry Meridian Middle School had opened. After clearing modern day security, I was directed to the front office. When I told the receptionist of my vintage, her eyes bugged out. Yes I know, I am a relic. She said there would surely be a better word, so I proclaimed myself a pioneer. We both liked that. I told her that I designed the cover and created the name of the little handbook called The Perry Meridian Pipeline. She showed me how the book had evolved in 44 years and told me this would be the last year for its printing. It has gone digital. So now even the book is a relic!
Robust Attitude and a Smile to Match
She called for Mr. Griffin and he came bounding to the front office with a huge grin and said “Hi I am Timmy!” He told me the auction will be held May 9th. He said it is good timing because Mother’s Day is May 12th and the kids like to buy their moms a gift from the auction. They would love to receive gift cards and cold hard cash for the event. But any gift item that might appeal to a teenager would be much appreciated. The Colts donate a signed football.
Who do you know who might like to give to this special auction for special needs?
What do you have that would boost the spirits of a young person?
You can take the items to the school or I will be glad to help you by offering pickup and transport. You can call or text Polly at 317-450-8812.
As Timmy walked with me out to my car to collect the posters, he told me of one of his students who used to draw on his own arm. Mr. Griffin refrained from telling this student to stop drawing on himself. Instead he encouraged the artistic expression. This young man is now enrolled at Herron School of Art. We need more teachers like Timmy Griffin.
Teacher Tim Griffin’s Story of Life Skills Teaching
This is the post I pulled off of Perry Twp Chat. It will warm your heart and perhaps you might like to help. Mr. Griffin states “I need your help. I educate special needs kids at Perry Meridian High School. The subjects are Economics, Government, U.S. History, World History, and World Geography. In addition to teaching these classes, I also demonstrate life skills, which is not in my curriculum. Learning how to maintain a checking account is one skill I taught them. I worked with a local bank and acquired blank checks and deposit slips, and developed a check register for them to record their checks and deposits. These kids will eventually become employed and need to know appropriate money management skills.
I pay them $5 a day, for a total of $25 per week. I charge them $2 a day to rent their desk, and they write me a check every day. If they need a pen, I charge them $1. They quickly learned they could not write a check in pencil. If they want to sit in a rocking chair or bean bag chair, that is an additional fee. If they don’t have their check written within 2 minutes of class starting, they are docked a “late fee”, just as if they were late on a car or rent payment. I pay them on Friday, depending upon how many days they have been in class. Every Friday I am greeted with “I WANT MY MONEY!” They still have to pay me rent even if they are on spring break, just like if they went on a vacation in real life. I also pay them sick days, holiday pay, and vacation pay, just like in real life. They keep track of how much they have in their account, based on how many checks they have written to me and how many “paychecks” they have received. Some of the kids have over $500 in their account.
I host an auction at the end of every semester and have them bid on certain items that are donated. The Assistant Superintendent, Bob Bohannon, comes in as our Celebrity Auctioneer. Last year there was almost $4,000 in money, gift cards, etc. donated! My kiddos look forward to this auction every year. I am asking you to donate gift cards or any gift items like pins, hats, t-shirts, etc. you may have laying around that teenage kids would like. Last year I put money into mystery envelopes that they bid on. It was a huge hit, as there were $100, $50, $20, and $10 bills in these envelopes! They will have to keep track of how much they have in their account, and then write me a check for what they have bid on during the auction. Money, gift cards, hats, etc. they will love whatever you donate. Really, anything would be appreciated by my kids. Contact me if you can help these kids at 401 W. Meridian School Rd, Indpls 46217 and I will let them know there are kind-hearted people in the world.”
On behalf of the kids,
Special Needs Teacher
Perry Meridian High School
Polly Riddell writing as G. Polly Jordan is a freelance journalist connecting people through the stories they tell.