In the age of email, texting and social media, some amazing Carolina students went old school and took time to thank Classroom Central for everything from book bags to pencils and calculators to notebook paper.
“It is always exciting when we receive a big manila envelope full of thank-you cards from students at one of the schools we serve,” said Karen Calder, executive director of Classroom Central. “Getting notes from them is very special. Their responses are unfiltered and full of joy, which makes us feel good about the work we do.”
Classroom Central equips students in need to effectively learn by collecting and distributing free school supplies to their teachers.
Calder said each thank-you card is special in its own way, and the creativity of the art captures your attention. She said the organization has received some amazing pop-up cards. Sometimes, she said, it’s about the message, as students share their feelings about receiving free supplies.
The messages are always different but clearly full of gratitude, she said. They include such messages as: “You have helped our school so much.” “Thank you for the supplies.” “Thank you for all the supplies and the book bag and all the stuff.”
For over 20 years, WSOC-TV has partnered with Classroom Central for the 9 School Tools program. Covering over 22 counties, this is the largest school supply drive in the Carolinas and has served over 4 million children to date.
In partnership with Communities in Schools Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Classroom Central, WSOC-TV collects school supplies, which are then distributed to students in grades K-12. These items play a big role in preparing students to be successful in the upcoming school year.
Calder said there are many ways for community members to get involved with Classroom Central.
“There is no way we could serve six school districts and nearly 200 schools without our volunteers,” Calder said. “Approximately 2,500 people donate their time each year in a wide variety of ways, stocking our Free Store, helping with teacher shopping at the Free Store and Mobile Free Store, creating flash cards for teachers to use in the classroom and so much more.”
If you don’t have the time to volunteer but would still like to contribute, Classroom Central welcomes donations of products throughout the year. You can visit its Amazon Wish List on the Classroom Central website and choose items to donate without ever leaving your home.
“We also welcome cash donations, of course. In fact, we are able to turn every dollar donated into $9 worth of school supplies,” Calder said.
Picture a child at school trying to write without a pencil, read without books or dream without the tools to put her ideas on paper.
In the Carolinas, the reality is that far too many students in our community don’t have the school supplies they need to succeed. For thousands, basic learning tools are a luxury. In fact, more than half of the students in our region come from families who can’t afford lunch, let alone school supplies.
Each month, Classroom Central looks at its current inventory of supplies and chooses one item on which it will focus. Dry-erase markers are the focus for November, followed by crayons in December. In January, the organization is doing a communitywide book drive, asking companies and individuals to donate gently used books that will end up in local classrooms.
You can see the love that came from each of the thank-you notes. Well done, Classroom Central, for having a positive effect on our community.
If you have an inspiring story to share, email Kevin Campbell, WSOC-TV/WAXN-TV/Telemundo Charlotte public affairs manager, at Kevin.Campbell@wsoctv.com.
PHOTOS: Thank-you Classroom Central
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