Granted, it’s a heckuva gift

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The Stanton Community Foundation, which is a non-profit organization, serves youth, low-income individuals and families.

In an effort to help the declining school budget, the foundation has had a backpack program, but this year, it offered mini-grants to school teachers and presented those to 12 teachers at a recent City Council meeting.

Making the presentations were the Foundation's president, Brian Donahue, and Vice President Elizabeth Ash.

The Stanton Community Foundation, which is a non-profit organization, serves youth, low-income individuals and families.

In an effort to help the declining school budget, the foundation has had a backpack program, but this year, it offered mini-grants to school teachers and presented those to 12 teachers at a recent City Council meeting.

Making the presentations were the Foundation's president, Brian Donahue, and Vice President Elizabeth Ash.

"This is the first year we have offered the grants to teachers," said Donahue. "Twenty-seven teachers applied and we were able to give 12 grants, which will affect 793 students, and that is a huge success – we look forward to next year," he added.

All of the teachers expressed great gratitude for the mini-grants and there were lots of smiles.

"Receiving the grant from the Stanton Community Foundation is such an honor," said Walter Elementary School teacher Jill Lungren. "I'm so pleased they considered a special education class as one of their recipients and I will be using the money to buy incentives such as toys, pencils, books, games, and prizes, to reward my students for demonstrating positive behavior."

Lungren said the grant alleviates the pressure on her and her family to purchase prizes out of their own pay checks.

"I'm the mother of six children myself and I need every bit of my paycheck to cover my own expenses," she said.

Lawrence Elementary School teacher Kelly Thompson said, "I cannot thank Mrs. Ash and the Stanton Community Foundation enough for this very generous grant. I feel so supported, special and appreciated having received this wonderful grant."

Thompson said she teaches in a poverty-stricken area and that her students have a lot of needs that she has been trying to meet on her own each year.

"Because of the SOS grant, I can afford to buy class sets of Common-Core-approved read-aloud books that will help my students fall in love with reading and become more literate and engaged in their learning," said Thompson.

Thompson said her teaching philosophy is to make learning fun.

"The more fun you have doing something, the more you want to do it and  I want to help raise a generation of children who love to learn. This grant is helping me achieve my goal."

Perhaps not everyone knows what a "spot rug" is, but ask any teacher and they'll tell you how important that rug is.

"The item I will purchase is a spot rug," said teacher Angelique Darvin. "It's a well-loved but costly teacher-management tool that students can use in many ways and so with the SOS Grant I can afford that for my classroom."

"I was surprised, shocked, and humbled to receive the grant; it's  a great feeling to know that our students and school have the support of the community. In this day of Common-Core, the rug will allow for organized talk-groups and sharing. The best word I can use to sum up my feelings is gratitude," added Darvin, who teaches at Lawrence Elementary School.

From its website, the program is explained in this manner: The Supply Our Schools program is said to be designed to perfectly match donors with the needs of students in under-privileged school districts.

The idea is simple: Have teachers identify the specific needs of their classrooms and let donors decide which supplies they would like purchase for donation.

The SOS process is similar to an online wedding registry, except that it's for teachers instead of brides. Teachers create supply lists specifying the supplies their student's need.

Then, donors view the supply lists and "purchase" specific supplies from the lists and SOS buys the “purchased” supplies and has them delivered directly to the teacher.

Once the supplies are received, the teacher confirms they've received them, and has their students post online thank you notes, which the donor(s) can read.

Teachers in any U.S. public schools can set up a supply list for their classrooms. One hundred percent of public donations received by SOS are used for purchasing school supplies and donations to Supply Our Schools, and it's a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and therefore deductible for computing income and estate taxes

The SOS program is available for public school teachers, librarians, coaches and/or counselors.