Fourth-grader’s heartbreaking Christmas wish: New shoes and a ‘happier life’

(Facebook)

NEW ORLEANS – A New Orleans city council member-elect says he was dumbfounded when a fourth-grade student asked for a “happier life” for Christmas, according to WGNO.

In an emotional Facebook post, Jay Banks said he found the child’s wish while working with the annual Angel Tree program at a local YMCA.

Community members come together to donate to the Angel Tree program each year to make the wishes of the students at James Singleton Charter School come true for Christmas.

Banks said he randomly selected a form from a stack. In the one that caught his eye, the child asked for just two things: new shoes and a happier life.

“Put this in context, a 4th grade child has the opportunity to ask for what he wants for Christmas and this is what he asks for,” Banks wrote. “A new bike, an xbox, other toys or a multitude of other things would not have surprised nor alarmed me but for a 4th grader to ask for a happier life is heart wrenching.”

Banks said that while he can’t specifically remember much about the fourth grade, he does know “I wasn’t wishing for a happier life.” He wrote that the request left him “perplexed” and wondering how he could help both that child and others who might be in similar situations.

The post drew a flood of comments with many people offering support in different forms, from Christmas gifts to mentoring offers.

The Dryades YMCA where Banks found the wish list collects donations for a range of programs designed to help the surrounding community year-round. Click here to find out how you can help.