I so agree with your sadness...and I'm glad you wrote that post. We need to be reminded.
Then, it crosses my mind that a schoolful of young people is a powerful lot of manpower...womanpower...kidpower.
What is going on in the community that young people could join, safely, even for just an hour a day over the holidays? ...Or, just one hour, period.
I was thinking that a little exposure to a happier holiday spirit, a giving spirit, might help both the kids and their families see other attitudes...and come to expect them...do them.
I mean, that's what all teachers do for their kids, during school hours, anyway...they share their spirit and goodwill.
What would happen if your young people developed a sing-along to holiday music, perhaps to a popular record...and then took it into the community in some convenient way?
Or, if they practiced reading-aloud a pleasant story, with hand gestures and facial expressions, or with a short skit...then presented it in a mall, or retirement home?
It seems to me that all young people have all kinds of resources to offer...at no or little cost...and that there are places that would welcome a display of goodwill.
Is there a local Boys and Girls club, or similar group?
Is there a local hospital, with a lobby?
A mall, or parking lot, or park?
A public gymnasium?
How about knitting and crochet? I know for a fact that there is an ocean of unused yarn out there...I have collected hundreds of pounds
of it, from garage sales, and sorted it into a rainbow, packaging all of each dye lot together, in ziplock bags.
I'll fetch a couple of links to sites that show 'scrumbling', small works of art, freeform knitting and crochet, that join and create useful and joyous items.
Especially the page called, 'What is Freeform?'
For possibilities with color, see... http://www.colormebeautifulbook.com
Every library has copies of their books...though many may have pages torn out...people just love those books that much. Our local library, in a city of 100,000, had 17 copies, and one still had to get on a list to borrow it.
The fund-raising possibilities blossom in the small 'scrumbles' that the buyer may join together in their own way.
A pal, who also happens to be a fine kinesiologist, told me that there is a strong connection between handwork and intelligence in young people. If youngsters learn handwork of some kind, they are better able to understand and communicate.
Another way to help might be building blocks.
Every new house has leftover bits of wood which only get burned...nice clean ends of 2 X 4's and more, that make marvelous building blocks for little children, or teens (or adults) with time on their hands and healthy imaginations. (Whittling is a time-honored tradition, too.)
Polish off the edges, drop some pieces into pots of Rit dye, paint on free-hand 'windows' and 'doors', and you have endless hours of creative play.
Is there a church nearby which features bazaars, handicrafts?
How about a Scrabble tournament, with many winners, and small prizes...maybe everyone gets a trinket just for participating, or half a dozen homemade cookies?
...Or, a breakfast of scrambled eggs and fried potatoes (with chopped onions, white or green)?
Resources are everywhere, I think, and the whole point of the exercise is involving the young people in the community...happily and safely.
Is there a service club nearby which is interested in young people? Those guys and gals are powerful.
What would it take to combine forces, even in just a small way...once?
Happy Holidays, good lady!