My neighbor is an amazing lady. When she was very young she decided that when she grew up she would do something for kids who didn't have as much as she did. Last year, the time came to turn that dream into a reality. Radhika is not someone who does things half way, nor does she understand the phrase, "that's not possible". So she created a non-profit organization, set up a website, did all the work and research necessary, and set out to help kids by helping their teachers.
Supply Our Schools is the non-profit (and her husband will be the first to tell you it is DECIDEDLY non-profit!) that she established. The concept is "gift registry meets school supplies." The teachers decide what they need for their classrooms, and they create their own wish lists. The donors look at what the teachers need, use the website to get it for them, and pay for it. SOS does the rest (and no, they don't get a cut for being a middle man. It is NON profit).
These are some things I love about SOS:
- no one is making any money on this. It all goes to school supplies. The administrative costs and website cost are funded by Radhika and her husband as their contribution.
- the teachers call the shots. They get to put down exactly what they want and need for their classrooms. Who is in a better position to know?
- SOS promotes good manners -- they require the teachers to acknowledge the gifts via thank yous posted on the website
- the program is self-selecting: teachers have to sign themselves up.
My children are getting ready to go back to school next week. Each year the schools post a 'generic' school supply list and each year there are a number of things not on the list that they do need, and there are things on the list that they never use. I have finally learned to just get things as they need them or as a particular teacher gives them a list. I can do that pretty easily.
But in Oklahoma there are classrooms where 80% of the kids are on free lunch. Not only can those parents ill-afford school supplies, the teachers aren't making much money either. Why should the little the teachers make out there go to provide basic equipment for their classrooms. Many teachers spend their own money anyway because they love the kids they're entrusted with. But they shouldn't have to do that. Now there's way to let them take home some more of their pay!
So, if you read my post about the $$ I found while cleaning the basement, I've decided what to do with it. I'll take it across the street and let Radhika do my purchasing on SOS because she knows where the greatest needs are.
But how can you help?
If you know teachers who struggle with getting their classrooms adequately supplied, tell them about SOS.
If you have extra money you need to put to a very good purpose, donate to SOS.
It's that simple! By the way, to my friends who live in Hawaii, I KNOW there are some schools in need there, but SOS hasn't worked out the shipping logistics for you or Alaska yet. So in the meantime, forward this info to your friends on the mainland, okay? Mahalo!
Here's the link: SUPPLY OUR SCHOOLS
Question, comments, suggestions? I'm listening!