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

Posted at 8:44 AM, Dec 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-06 08:44:26-05


NEW ORLEANS – A fourth-grade student’s wish for a “happier life” this Christmas left a local politician stunned after he chose the child’s gift list.

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

Counselors and teachers at James Singleton Charter School write down the children’s Christmas lists as part of the annual program. Community members then donate what they can to make the holiday wishes come true.

Banks said he randomly picked the form from a stack, and it had just two requests – 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 he ” 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.