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Teachers are amazing and adaptable humans

They’ve prepared, as best they can, for the uncertainties of each new school day. Most prepared by going to college to learn modern teaching strategies, pedagogical techniques and how to make engaging lesson plans.

However, while the teachers are well-equipped, the classrooms are often not. Some just don’t have the supplies necessary to give students the best shot at learning.

Teachers ask for supplies. When requests are denied, teachers turn to fundraising. The problem, of course, is that teachers are not fundraisers. Apparently, Fundraising 101 is not a required class when preparing for state teacher licensure exams.

Thankfully, others have stepped up. For some, it means voting to support levies to fund classroom needs. Some donate time and supplies. Others donate funds to schools through charitable organizations.

For example, actor Reese Witherspoon made headlines last week when she fully funded teacher projects through the website DonorsChoose.org. Her gift provided project funds for 17,000 students in Nashville.

Even though they’re not trained fundraisers, some teachers (like those in Nashville) have taken it upon themselves to ask for funds to support classroom needs.

DonorsChoose.org just happens to be one of the best-known platforms for making the process a little easier for the teachers, so that they can focus on doing what it is they do best.

Schools in our Valley are no different. From Austintown to Youngstown City Schools, from TCTC to TCAP Head Start, teachers in our area are turning to fundraising websites to connect project needs with potential donors.

Carla Collins, a second-grade teacher in the Liberty Local Schools, is one such teacher. Collins learned about DonorsChoose through a cousin who teaches in the Niles school district.

“My first Donors Choose project was funded July 11, 2017,” Collins said. “It was for Chromebooks.”

Since then, Collins has raised nearly $30,000 for 80, fully funded projects. Along with her fundraising successes, she’s referred teachers who’ve also had their projects funded. In fact, Collins has been so successful with DonorsChoose that she’s now an ambassador.

“I’ve run seminars from countywide professional development days, to school- and district-wide meetings, and for many other school districts and reading organizations in the area,” Collins added. “I teach them how to write a project, tips for getting it funded, and which vendors to use for products they want. I also understand the (DonorsChoose) website and where to go to get help if people need assistance with project writing.”

DonorsChoose.org makes it easy for us to give. Search for open projects by name and location. Even if you don’t know a particular teacher, you can easily connect with schools in your area by entering a zip code.

When I entered 44555, 33 projects in the Youngstown area appeared. A search of 44488 revealed 12 in the Warren area.

You can also search by age and grade, subject area, and “most urgent” projects. After you give, DonorsChoose gives the option to share updates about the donation on your social media platforms.

Dr. Adam Earnheardt is a professor of communication at Youngstown State University. Follow him on Twitter at @adamearn and on his blog at www.adamearn.com.

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