Mulch Pies and Coffee Beans

Our Coffee-welding angels…
Starbucks came to Abeona on Friday, giving us hope beyond our dreams. They flew in the day before and arrived bright and early, bearing gifts, surprises, and helping hands. Among the tangible gifts were mulch as a temporary fix to the backyard (which was getting muddier and muddier by the day), $2000 in donations that they had raised from their Seattle co-workers, coffee, hot chocolate and pastries for parents and teachers, and a huge assortment of coffee beans with a bean grinder! Perhaps even more uplifting was the interest, compassion, and enthusiasm they shared. They seemed to truly grasp the scope of Abeona, our challenges, triumphs, and special magic .
The morning was spent with the mulch — Abeona folks and Starbucks partners wheeled in and emptied several dozen bags of mulch, making a huge “mountain” in the yard. Then the 2s and 3s were brought out… who can resist a mountain of mulch?? They knew what to do. (Photos of the morning here.)
Will had enough mulch in his Bob the Builder underwear to nicely cover the diffenbachia potted on our front porch.

Once they’d jumped and climbed their hearts out, teachers passed out kid-size shovels and rakes for the kids to get to work spreading it out in the yard. Few things are cooler than giving a bunch of preschoolers a serious job and watching them hop to it with the intensity of Olympians preparing for their event.
We are so thrilled that these people, from the other side of the country, took such an honest and sincere interest with us. On any given day, we feel isolated, misunderstood, and forgotten. The tragedy of New Orleans and our struggle to save this important city — somehow, these have become passé, old-news, out-of-fashion. Being here is hard. Feeling forgotten is a big part of why.
One of the many positive aspects of Starbucks’ visit was how it made us realize how far Abeona has come. With so much looming ahead and so many challenges yet to face, there have not been many opportunities to see our progress. More than ever, I am inspired and amazed by peers in this city and by the fantastic space we’ve created.