As parents with young children count down the days till school starts, Tucson Values Teachers is on a mission to make back-to-school shopping for school supplies a communitywide event.
"Teachers spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars of their own money each year on basic classroom supplies, which we think is shameful," said Katie Rogerson, marketing director for TVT. "Our goal is to take this issue of teacher-funded classrooms off the table, and to do that we must reach as many people as possible who want to support education and teachers in our community."
Tucson Values Teachers is a business-education partnership dedicated to raising the economic standing of - and respect for - district and private- and charter-school teachers in Southern Arizona.
To realize its goal, TVT and a handful of old and new partners are gearing up for a two-week supply drive that has morphed into the largest single effort in the region: the Fifth Annual Tucson Supplies Teachers drive from July 28 to Aug. 11.
Longtime Tucson Supplies Teachers partners Walgreens and the Community Finance Corp. will each donate $25,000 for the fifth straight year, and Jim Click Automotive will contribute $50,000 to the cause.
The Tucson Association of Realtors, which has sponsored a separate drive for the past seven years, will also coordinate efforts with Tucson Supplies Teachers along with additional partners such as Peter Piper Pizza, McDonald's, Pima Federal Credit Union and News 4 Tucson's Kristi's Kids. The drive, which has already raised more than $100,000 this year, seeks to funnel more than $250,000 in school supplies to classrooms in public, charter and private schools throughout Southern Arizona.
Rogerson said the community has been enthusiastic in its support.
"We looked at it and thought it was silly to have all these smaller drives." Rogerson said. "Why not coordinate our efforts and financial support and bring them together to have a phenomenal event where we show up as a community in support of our teachers?"
Rogerson emphasized that the funds will go toward basic supplies that are essential in the classroom, including writing materials such as pencils and erasers, construction paper, glue and glue sticks, scissors, three-ring binders, note cards and tissues.
"We are not talking about laptops and smart boards and iPads," she said. "We are talking about Kleenex and paper and pens. We want to make sure teachers don't have to worry about the basics - they have bigger things to worry about."
How You Can Help
Donate school supplies for kids and teachers
• The Fifth Annual Tucson Supplies Teachers Drive is being held at Walgreens and Peter Piper Pizza locations in Tucson and Southern Arizona July 28-Aug. 13.
Needed are donations of pens, pencils, dry-erase markers, highlighters, erasers, crayons, colored pencils, markers, printer paper, lined notebook paper, two-inch notebook binders, construction paper, glue and glue sticks, scissors, safety scissors, three-ring binders, note cards, tissues and other school and art supplies. For more information or to donate go to tucsonvaluesteachers.org or call 327-7619.
Donations of supplies will also be accepted at school buses from noon to 3 p.m. on Aug 3 at the Walgreens stores at 4685 E. Grant Road and 7111 E. Golf Links Road, and from noon to 3 p.m. Aug. 10 at its stores at 3800 W. Ina Road and 1415 W. River Road.
• "Backpack Night" for the Shyann Kindness Project is seeking donations of backpacks and school supplies for children from low-income families in the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association. Supplies are also distributed at other Shyann Kindness Project Events throughout the year. Donations will be accepted through July 31 at all area Starbucks locations (except those in Target and grocery stores), as well as at the UPS Stores at 120 S. Houghton Road and 9121 E. Tanque Verde Road and other businesses throughout Tucson. For a list of locations, go to shyannkindness.org or call 749-4021.
• Gifts of Love School Supplies Drive for Interfaith Community Services is accepting donations of backpacks and school supplies for children in need. Last year the program provided supplies for 440 local students. Donations will be accepted through Monday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the ICS office at 2820 W. Ina Road and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at New Spirit Lutheran Church, 8701 E. Old Spanish Trail. Needed are backpacks, folders, glue sticks, scissors, notebooks, binders, erasers, pens and pencils, markers and crayons, rulers and other items. For more information go to icstucson.org or call 297-6049.
"We are not talking about laptops and smart boards and iPads. We are talking about Kleenex and paper and pens. We want to make sure teachers don't have to worry about the basics - they have bigger things to worry about."
Tucson Values Teachers
Contact freelance writer Loni Nannini at firstname.lastname@example.org