Just about a mile down the road from our house, there’s a public elementary school. Not Big’s. It’s one that belongs to a different school district. One that doesn’t have parents holding fundraisers that result in hundreds of thousands of dollars for school supplies, art and music teachers, and more. One that I’d heard was in real need of materials and financial support.
So when Office Depot sent me a cool rolling bag filled with supplies like dry erase markers, notebooks, pens, and even a $100 Office Depot gift card, I decided to donate the items there instead of to our very fortunate school. And I’m so glad I did.
Yesterday, when Little, Pink, and I arrived at the school (unannounced), we were greeted by the principal. She was standing in the office entry, helping kids — who she happened to know by name — as they came in hurt from a fall on the playground, or with a stomachache. I was so impressed to see that she was out there, engaged with the kids, and ready to welcome me — a stranger from the community.
She graciously accepted the gift and was excited to talk to the person in charge of ordering supplies to find out what they need most at this point.
As I looked around, I was really humbled. There was no doubt that this school was in a different financial situation than the schools in our district. The big sign was a simple piece of plywood with the school name etched in it. The buildings (many of which were portables) needed some serious TLC. At first glance, it felt like a different world than what I think of when it comes to public schools in our area.
But once I walked through the doors, I could tell that this place had more in common with Big’s school than I realized. It was a community — bursting with life. Its halls were filled with kids who woke up excited to take their favorite toy to sharing, to play with their friends at recess, and to learn the next cool math lesson. No doubt these children’s families want the same education and opportunities for their kids, they just don’t have the outside resources to subsidize the public funding.
I absolutely loved feeling like my donation might make that community’s day a bit better. It was exciting to witness firsthand that Office Depot really knows what schools and teachers need to thrive. Seeing the small impact I made with this gesture made me realize how powerful Office Depot’s support of Adopt A Classroom and the Star Teacher program truly are. Thanks to their work, people around the US are making a difference for schools like this each and every day. And it truly does matter.
If your local school could use support, I encourage you to register with Office Depot’s charity partner, AdoptaClassroom.org (100% of the donations go directly to the teacher — amazing, right?). And if your school is already in good hands, I hope you’ll consider supporting one in your community that may not be as lucky through the program. You can start by sharing their resource toolkit with your friends and family.
We have the power to make a REAL difference. And it doesn’t take much. I hope you’ll join me by keeping the momentum I was able to start through this program going strong. I’d love to hear from you in the comments about how you’re making a difference in your local schools. Let’s continue to inspire each other and support our kids!
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.