As the daily “you won’t believe this!” chaos continues at the White House level, families around the nation are beginning to concentrate on getting kids ready to go back to school later this month. So here is something you can believe. The 2017 Collect for Kids campaign kicked off this week, with the goal of collecting backpacks and new school supplies — pencils, Sharpies, tablets, boxes of crayons, calculators, etc. — that will be distributed to Fairfax County students who need them.
More than 50,000 children, from kindergarten through high school, qualify for free and reduced meals in Fairfax County alone. Last year, Collect for Kids, a partnership of local nonprofit organizations, government, and businesses, outfitted more than 37,000 students, but still weren’t able to reach all who needed help. If you would like to assist in this worthy effort, you can drop off backpacks and new school supplies in the large yellow box outside my office at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale. You also may donate money via an online portal, http://collectforkids.org/donate/. With Collect for Kids buying power, each $1 donated is turned into $3 worth of supplies. The campaign runs through September 1, so there’s plenty of time to shop (Virginia’s sales tax holiday this weekend applies to school supplies) and help kids start the school year with the supplies they need to succeed!
President Trump’s supposedly offhand remarks last week, both to the Boy Scout Jamboree and to a law enforcement gathering, demonstrated once again that he has no concept of governance, nor the kind of statesmanlike behavior that was expected, and demonstrated, by past presidents. One of the first rules a public speaker learns is “know your audience.” I imagine that Mr. Trump could have regaled the Boy Scouts with stories of his own boyhood, perhaps military boarding school lessons, or how the world has changed since he was little, or perhaps when his father was young. It shouldn’t be that hard to pull out a few of those thoughts and put them on the teleprompter. Or recognizing that use of force is a serious matter for police departments across the country, and they need support from the federal government, not ridicule about shoving a perpetrator into a vehicle. Mr. Trump pontificates about keeping America safe, and then mocks the very men and women helping in that task. Kudos for those, like the president of the Boy Scouts and former Fairfax County Police Chief, and now Montgomery County police chief, Tom Manger who, rankled by the shenanigans of Mr. Trump, called him to task publicly. Boy Scouts and law enforcement personnel rank up there with Mom and apple pie when it comes to characterizing our American values. The only thing missing might be baseball, but that requires teamwork and discipline, traits Mr. Trump apparently lacks. New chief of staff, Major General John Kelly has them, I’m sure, but they need to be infused when one is of Boy Scout age, not a senior citizen. Now is too late.
Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor, in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.