9 School Tools

COVID-19 grant helps children thrive in school, life

When the coronavirus crisis hit Charlotte, the United Way of Central Carolinas and Foundation For The Carolinas partnered to launch the COVID-19 Response Fund.

The fund supports a range of nonprofits, assisting people most affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Importantly, this fund will help not just those who get sick, but also those who are economically impacted, such as families of students who cannot afford educational materials and supplies needed for remote learning.

One of the recipients was La Escuelita San Marcos, which received a $10,000 grant.

“This grant money will help ensure our educators and at-risk preschool students in North Mecklenburg have the technology infrastructure needed for virtual learning and staying updated in a quick-shifting climate,” said Jama Fleming, executive director of La Escuelita San Marcos.

A “small school with a big heart,” La Escuelita San Marcos helps Spanish-speaking children of low-income families thrive in education systems and develop necessary social and life skills.

“Our educators deliver a high-quality education at an extremely low tuition cost to Spanish-speaking students in the Huntington Green area and all across North Mecklenburg,” Fleming said.

With a goal for its students to excel in society, the organization supports the students’ families by offering parenting and life skills workshops, empowering them to hold leadership roles within the school community and enabling them to sustain and nurture their child’s educational and social development.

Fleming said that the population they serve has been negatively impacted by the pandemic and implementing technology adaptions to continue to deliver high-quality, interactive education for those who need it most is the goal.

“Like most schools, we are preparing for three different potential scenarios this fall. We are anticipating the reality of needing to increase expenses in the face of reduced revenue,” Fleming said.

La Escuelita San Marcos is one of many organizations expecting an increase in need as the back-to-school season approaches.

According to Classroom Central, about 127,000 children in the Charlotte region lack the basic school supplies they need to be successful in school.

Since 1997, in partnership with Classroom Central and Communities in Schools of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, the WSOC-TV 9 School Tools program has collected school supplies, which are then distributed free to students in grades K-12.

For many families, the needs of the home sometimes outweigh needs at school. When a family must choose between buying enough food for the evening dinner or paying the power bill, the pressure of purchasing school supplies is an added expense that families can’t afford.


A 9 School Tools financial donation program is in place with different levels of giving that will support the needs of Classroom Central. Donors can equate their monetary donation to what can be supplied by Classroom Central.

Here are some of the giving levels:

  • A donation of $9 will help provide homework supplies for students.
  • A donation of $25 will help fill a student’s backpack with school supplies.
  • A donation of $50 will supply a teacher with essential school items.
  • A donation of $100 will supply an entire class with STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) kits.


Learn more about 9 School Tools at www.9SchoolTools.com.

If you have an inspiring story to share, email Sinead Taylor, WSOC-TV community affairs specialist, at Sinead.Taylor@wsoc-tv.com.

Comments on this article