From early in his life, Flynn O’Hagan knew he wanted to be a teacher.
His mother was an educator, and O’Hagan saw the bond she had with her students.
“I just enjoyed watching the kids and the relationship they had with her. A lot of them called her mom and that was pretty cool,” he said.
Teaching was his calling to serve and for the past 12 years, he has been doing just that.
For him, teachers have a strong perspective on what students need to succeed in class and in life.
It’s also knowing what frustrates kids that can make a difference, especially for students who come from vulnerable or low-income families.
“There’s a lot of kids that don’t have that opportunity and don’t have a good home life at times so that’s really why I wanted to be an educator,” he said. “I want to make more of a difference.”
According to Classroom Central, about 127,000 children in the Charlotte region lack the basic school supplies they need to be successful in school.
With a difficult past year and the economic downturn, families will find it even more difficult to access supplies for their kids to complete their school year and not fall behind.
On average, teachers spend $1,000 on school supplies every year.
“I don’t know of one educator that’s never dipped into their own pockets and it comes with the territory,” he said. “It’s something that we don’t hesitate to do because at the end of the day the children are the most important priority.”
Thankfully, for some teachers, there is a place where they can receive donated school supplies.
Classroom Central’s Free Store is a retail operation where teachers and other school personnel from eligible schools shop for free supplies throughout the academic year.
All materials distributed are used to create inviting learning environments and to support the academic and personal growth of students whose families lack the resources needed to purchase school supplies.
“Every teacher knows Classroom Central. They help out any way they can and make it very easy, pickup, drop-offs whatever you need,” he said.
In addition to basic supplies — such as pencils, paper, notebooks, glue sticks and folders — teachers will find backpacks, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) materials and lesson plans, a literacy section that includes books and lesson plans, copy paper, arts and crafts materials, classroom decorations, cleaning supplies, personal care items and more.
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.
Covering 22 counties, 9 School Tools is the largest school supply drive in the Carolinas and runs now through Aug. 31.
“I think we get lost in the value of what the donation might be and a small donation to some is a huge thing to others,” he said. ‘There isn’t anything too small that isn’t used and isn’t going to make somebody’s day.”
You can donate the school supplies at any Arby’s, Ashley HomeStore, E.R. Plumbing Services and Charlotte Fire Department stations.
Financial donations can also be made to the 9 School Tools program that supports Classroom Central.
Learn more about 9 School Tools at www.9SchoolTools.com.
If you have an inspiring story to share, email Kevin Campbell, public affairs manager at WSOC-TV/WAXN-TV/Telemundo Charlotte, at Kevin.Campbell@wsoctv.com.
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