Adopt-A-Classroom Funds Classes In Need!
Adopt-A-Classroom is an organization dedicated to getting school supplies to those who need it most.
We spoke with Adopt-A-Classroom's Gracie McKinstry-Smith about the organizations origins and their mission to help classes in need!
Adopt-A-Classroom was created by Jamie Rosenberg, who at the time was a corporate attorney in downtown Miami.
"Jamie Rosenberg was mentoring a mentally and physically delayed child in a public school and saw how few resources teachers had in their classrooms," McKinstry-Smith said. "While driving in his car, he noticed an Adopt A Highway sign, and thought, 'Why can't people adopt classrooms as well?'"
Rosenberg quit his job as an attorney in 1998 and devoted himself to finding a practical way to get needed resources into classrooms.
"Starting with nothing but a laptop and a commitment to do something, he has grown AdoptAClassroom.org into one of the leading educational charities in the country," McKinstry-Smith explained.
The process behind AdoptAClassroom.org is simple. Teachers who need school supplies register their classes online. Donors can go through this list of classrooms based on filters including grade level, cities, and class subjects and personally decide which classes they want to fund.
For corporate partners, Adopt-A-Classroom chooses the schools who need the most resources to be funded.
When budgets are cut in schools, parents and teachers are expected to make up the difference to buy supplies for students.
"15 million children live in families who cannot provide basic school supplies for their children" McKinstry-Smith explained. "Budget cuts also limit teachers from being given what they need to teach. Students can't learn without educational supplies! Teachers care greatly about their students and many will go to great lengths to purchase items for students in need."
Some teachers spend up to $1000 out of their own pockets to benefit their students every year, not just to buy supplies for the classroom, but to make purchases that will benefit the students lives in general.
"Teachers purchase everything from pencils to toilet paper for their students!" McKinstry-Smith said.
According to McKinstry-Smith, a recent survey revealed that:
- 91% of teachers buy basic school supplies
- 80% of teachers purchase classroom books
- 53% pay for field trip costs
- 67% buy basic food for kids
- 30% buy warm clothes for students who might go cold during the winter otherwise
Every month, jcpenney partners with a new charity. For the month of August 2013, they wanted to pick a non-profit for the back-to-school season, and went with Adopt-A-Classroom.
"During the month of August, jcpenney shoppers can round-up their purchase to make a donation to AdoptAClassroom.org," McKinstry-Smith explained. "We are so excited to be partnering with them!"
Part of that collaboration involved working with Disney Channel star Bella Thorne, who made a PSA detailing the organization's mission.
"You can help a needy classroom!" McKinstry-Smith said. "Even as little as a $5 can purchase pencils or markers for students who would otherwise not have any. Visit AdoptAClassroom.org to see all of the amazing classrooms that need our help. Spread the word! Tell your friends and family about the cause."
But donating to AdoptAClassroom.org isn't the only way to help out.
"Whether you're passionate about education or something else, you can make a difference! Our motto this fall is 'Going back means giving back!' As you go back to school, think about ways you can give back to your community as well."
Keep up with Adopt-A-Classroom on their social pages!