I don’t know about you, but at the beginning of the school year, my son got a very specific list of school supplies that he’d need for the year. It included things like glue sticks, markers, and colored pencils — you know, the stuff of 1st graders’ dreams. Well, come Back-to-School Night, Big’s teacher had some other requests. She placed a wishlist on the wall and parents could sign up to buy the items for the classroom.
When I went over to look at the list, I found myself rather surprised. There were some really cool nice-to-have items like a puppet show set (which, coincidentally, has been all the rage at our dinner table this week), but some of the things on there were definitely basics. I signed up for a Costco package of AA batteries that would help some of the learning toys in the classroom (i.e. cash registers, calculators, etc.) come to life. It never dawned on me that batteries — and other basics — wouldn’t be something the school provides. Especially a school with an outrageously generous parent foundation. I can’t even imagine what public schools without parental funding must need.
It got me thinking, from now on, beyond the “must-have” back-to-school shopping list, I plan to ask my kids’ teachers what kinds of things they’d love to have, but don’t have a budget for. I’ll explain to my kids what a gift these extra items we’re buying for the classroom truly are. Because, believe it or not, 92% of teachers report spending their own money on classroom supplies. And the average teacher? They spend $1000 out of pocket each year on essential classroom supplies, bringing the total to 1.3 billion out-of-pocket dollars nationally each year. That number’s astounding.
AdoptAClassroom.org, Office Depot’s charity partner, is a wonderful way to support teachers in your community and beyond. 100% of the donations go directly to a teacher so they don’t have to spend their own money on classroom supplies. Office Depot recognizes the lengths teachers go to each and every day to support students, and I love sharing the work they’re doing. Make it count! Register your child’s teacher today to participate in the REAL Change Project and be eligible for funding from donors nationwide.
If this sounds like something your teachers and community could benefit from (and, really, who couldn’t?), you can go to this link (http://www.officedepot.com/a/promo/pages/toolkit/) to check out the Office Depot toolkit and spread the word.
And if you’re a pin-loving parent, don’t miss out on the Office Depot #TeachersChangeLives Pinterest Sweepstakes. (Which ends May 5th!) Join in the fun and you could be one of three winners to get a $100 Office Depot gift card for yourself, along with a $50 gift card for the teacher of your choice. Check out the details here:
Teachers, chime in. How can parents help you? And parents, I’d love to hear from you, too. How have you helped out a teacher? No doubt there are simple ways to make a big difference. You know, kind of like teachers do each and every day.
Photo credit: morgueFile.com
Sweeps image: Courtesy of Office Depot
Disclosure: I am an Office Depot REAL Change blog ambassador. This post is part of a campaign where I was compensated for my time. To learn more about REAL Change, visit their website.