The requests practically leap out of the computer to tug at your heart.
A teacher in Overtown needs funds for seeds and gardening tools. She wants to improve her students eating habits through a community garden.
A teacher in Little Haiti needs a classroom projector to teach English. She calls her project “Lighting Up Young Minds.”
A teacher at Blue Lakes Elementary School in Olympia Heights would like to get egg shakers and woodblock instruments “to inspire her students to create rhythms that express their individuality as they learn music.”
Also needed are funds for bean bag chairs and rugs for reading centers, microscope slides, book racks, chapter books, physics tools, even sheep hearts and other parts for high school anatomy classes.
From the simple title of “Copier for Students” to the imaginative “Magical Library of Fun,” public school teachers in South Florida, and across the United States are finding ways to help students that don’t involve digging into their own pockets.
The money for small projects can be found through the online charity, DonorsChoose.org.
The website was started in 2000 by Charles Best, a New York social studies teacher in The Bronx, who realized there were a lot of other teachers out there like him who didn’t have enough funds for supplies.
And little by little, word of DonorsChoose spread like spinach on a school lunch tray.
“It’s powerful,” said Wendy Rosenthal, a second grade teacher at James S. Hunt Elementary in Pompano Beach. “The really beautiful thing about it is you can choose to make a donation of $1 and still make a difference.”
Rosenthal recently had two projects fully funded. In one, called “Another Day At The Office,” $373 in donations got her partitions to create little office spaces for her little students.
“We’ve found students are more apt to think creatively and share later with peers if they can work in their own office spaces,” she said.
Through partnering with DonorsChoose.org, Chevron and other organizations have gotten involved in their communities’ schools. Chevron helps fund teacher projects in its Fuel Your School program.
In October, consumers who filled their tanks with at least eight gallons of gas at Texaco and Chevron stations helped make a difference in South Florida classrooms.
Physics teacher Michael Hunter at Doral Academy High School had his project, “Fuel our Future by Funding Future Physicists,” fully funded within a week. Hunter needed a high voltage electrostatics kit and measuring equipment for physics experiments.
Chevron representatives visited Doral Academy for the award presentation and the students were excited, Hunter said.
“The students also asked me to show them what I wrote in my essay,” he said. “It was very generous of Chevron to fund us.”
At Rockway Middle School in Westchester, sixth grade science teacher Lunetta Stocker received three class sets of workbooks about energy and machines through the Fuel Your School program. When the Chevron reps visited Rockway, the students demonstrated how to use electrical circuits and lights in experiments.
“I can use the ideas from the books to help my students build models and see how things work,” Stocker said.