Improving education for students who call Charlotte home

Improving education for students who call Charlotte home

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 badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Importantly, this fund will help not just people 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.

“While all nonprofits have different missions and goals, one thing that most of us have in common is that we work to help others recover from challenging situations,” said Eric Law, executive director of Promising Pages.

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The organization is a recipient of a $25,000 grant to further its mission of distributing books to underserved children and cultivating a lifelong love of reading through innovative literacy programs and partnerships.

“The generous grant we received from the COVID-19 Response Fund is being used to help cover the costs of these ongoing distributions, including book procurement, processing, sanitizing, packaging and delivery expenses,” Law said. “Serving children safely during the pandemic requires additional materials including bags, shrink wrap, latex gloves, masks and disinfectants.”

The grant will also fund more than 2,100 hours of staff time spent on duties that are typically handled by volunteers.

“We have been hit hardest by the loss of volunteer support, which averaged nearly 500 volunteer hours per month (the equivalent of almost three full-time staff) before early March,” Law said.

Since March 16, Promising Pages has distributed more than 89,000 books to children living in Charlotte-area book deserts (areas with limited access to books).

Law said they expect that number to grow over the summer.

“Improving educational opportunities for everyone who calls Charlotte home is a huge priority for the quality of life in our communities,” he added.

Promising Pages is one of many organizations working to improve the quality of education.

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 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.