By Kimberly Paulk at SHARECharlotte.com, a free, easy and local website that makes it easy to learn about and engage with our local nonprofits
“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” ― William Butler Yeats
On the stage sat 23 children, all nervously waiting to start the all-school spelling bee. Among them was Molly. As a third grader, she was one of the youngest in the group. Everyone sitting on stage with her had worked hard to get there, but for Molly the path had been particularly difficult.
When she arrived in the U.S. with her parents from Burma just three years before, Molly spoke no English. Although she’d tried hard to catch up, she was still reading below grade level. But Molly’s teacher, Jessica Kilbride, saw that her student had a lot of potential. She just needed the right materials and resources.
The things Molly needed to study the spelling bee words at home were simple, like note cards, markers and pencils, but they were out of the reach of her family budget. Determined to help Molly succeed, Jessica turned to Classroom Central.
Classroom Central equips students living in poverty with school supplies. They serve 135,000 students, 9000 educators, in over 200 schools within 6 districts. Last year alone they distributed almost one million pencils. For Molly, they provided the basics like a notebook, note cards and a pouch to keep everything together.
By the thirteenth round of the spelling bee, only Molly and a fifth grader remained on stage. When her turn arrived Molly misspelled a word, coming in second place. In spite of her loss, though, Jessica saw a new confidence in her student. Soon after the spelling bee, Molly was reading at grade level. As Jessica says, “She was given the resources she needed to meet new levels of achievement for herself.”
Her real name isn’t Molly. But Molly is a real student in the Charlotte area, and the donations someone made to Classroom Central made all the difference to her. Interested in getting involved? Here are a few ideas to get started. You can find more at SHARE Charlotte.
Store Stocking Clerk – help stock and merchandise Classroom Central’s Free Store, where Jessica shopped for the supplies that helped Molly.
Teacher Shopping Customer Service – Assist teachers with check-in and check-out as they shop and help load items into their cars.
Supply Drive Dynamo – School supplies are needed year round – conduct a supply drive!