It's easy to spot the teachers in Target. They are the ones buying 24 file boxes to organize students' writing, pawing through the clearance bin for things their students would love, or loading up on dry erase markers. A recent survey found that teachers spent an average of $513 of their own money on classroom supplies and training. That's a LOT of money for a profession that is not known for its generous compensation.
Even with their personal contributions, teachers can't always fund everything they want to in their classrooms. Donors Choose is a non-profit organization designed to connect teachers with donors who can fund classroom projects. It is a transparent, efficient and well-run organization that has funded almost 600,000 projects across the United States.
Check out this short video for more information about the organization (and some celebrity supporters!).
My favorite part about the charity is that donors can search for projects that align with their interests. There are projects perfect for yoga-enthusiasts, fans of owl pellet dissections and track and field runners. You can make a donation in honor of someone or give a gift card to let someone else find the perfect cause to support. After projects are funded, the donors get handwritten notes and pictures from the teacher and student.
I have rounded up a few of my favorite projects to share with readers.
Wanted: Basic Computer Supplies for Marvelous Math Scholars. Mrs. DaMauro is requesting 3 printer cartridges and other basic supplies for her middle school math students in a high-poverty school in Connecticut. She wants sharpie markers to label materials and crayons so students can make posters about integers and geometric figures. She is asking for the basic supplies she needs to be effective in her job.
Providing Visual Support for These Special Individuals. Mrs. Rios teaches bilingual life skills in Austin, Texas. She is asking for a safety mirror so that her students can learn to take care of their own hygiene needs like buttoning their pants and wiping their noses. The entire project, including an optional donation to DonorsChoose.org, rings in at $272.92.
Opening Doors to the Future. Mr. Nelson teaches in a high-poverty rural school in Wisconsin. He is asking for $472 to cover the cost of busing his ninth grade students to visit a 4 year college.
Teachers are always adding new projects to the site as needs and ideas arise, and I plan to share more of my favorites on my Facebook page, Pinterest and Twitter.
You can show teachers and students your support by donating any amount, sharing your favorite projects on social media, or encouraging a teacher you know to post his or her own project.
I want to hear- which projects interest you?