“We envision a nation where children in every community have the tools and experiences needed for an excellent education.” — DonorsChoose.orgAnnika Darling CTLatinoNews.com
It all started with the iPad says Jodi Kabat, a local third grade teacher at Burns Latino Studies Academy in Hartford. She wanted to have iPads in the classes and knew that wasn’t going to happen unless she somehow did something about it. So she decided to get creative to combat the educational inequity she saw and tapped into the resources at DonorsChoose.org — an online charity that makes it easy to donate to students in need.
“We don’t have a lot of technology, and I wanted to have iPads in the classes. I knew that wasn’t going to happen unless I somehow did something about it. I went to DonorsChoose,” says Kabat.
As a result, since she started utilizing DonorsChoose in 2013, Kabat has completed 57 projects, and currently has three in the works. A science field trip and the 3-D printer are among some of Kabat’s favorite completed projects.
The 17 students in Kabat’s classroom, and in the school in general, come from low socioeconomic backgrounds, and the Academy is unable to provide the children with easy access to certain supplies and/or technology. The inability for Mrs. Kabat to access the proper teaching tools was making an already difficult job that much harder she said.
At DonorsChoose anyone can donate any amount. DonorsChoose strives to engage the public by giving people a simple, accountable and personal way to address educational inequity. Even a $1 donation gets the same level of choice, transparency, and feedback that is traditionally reserved for someone who gives millions. Donors can choose any project that inspires them, and help public teachers all across America reach their goals and get much needed materials to their students.
In her plea to donors, on DonorsChoose.org, Kabat says:
“My students are sweet, smart and very eager to learn new things all the time…We have the highest rate of ELL (English language learners) in the state and have a high amount of special education students. They all deserve to have access to the same supplies, technology and educational items that other schools have.”
Kabat heard about DonorsChoose in 2009 (when she first started teaching) from other resource-strapped teachers, but said it seemed too overwhelming at the time. Finally, in 2013, Kabat gave the fundraising community a shot.
Through DonorsChoose Kabat has procured a number of supplies for her students; everything from the basics, such as paper towels, pencils, and notebooks to kites, easels and even a 3D-printer — which the entire school has benefited from.
“These are supplies and things we just don’t have,” says Kabat. “In Hartford, magnet schools have access to things like that more so than a community school, so we have to invent it ourselves. [DonorsChoose] makes it easier all around. It makes it easier for me. The kids have the supplies that I feel like other schools have, not all other schools but many.”
One of Kabat’s biggest continual donors has been PALMco, a family owned and operated energy supply company, she attirbutesfive of her completed projects (including the science field trip) to their help.
Kabat says, “Taking the entire third grade on a science trip last year to the Indian Rock Preserve would never had happened if we hadn’t gotten the half off from [PALMco] because we were almost out of time.”
PALMco energy is doing a partnership with DonorsChoose — this partnership is part of “PALMco Cares” a larger effort to give back to the communities in which PALMco operates. At DonorsChoose.org they’ve been sponsoring environmental science projects in high poverty neighborhoods. Kabat has been fortunate to benefit from these sponsorships two years in a row.
“Thanks to DonorsChoose.org and more than 400 individual donors from around the country, together, we are able to directly impact classrooms across the East Coast,” said Robert Palmese, President of PALMco. “The collaboration among teachers, students, and donors to increase access to environmental science projects and supplies will help the next generation continue to find innovative ways for us to live sustainably.”
Photos of the funded projects taking place are posted on the DonorsChoose site so donors can see how their donation is paying off, and letters from the the teacher are sent as well. And for donors who give over $50 will receive hand-written thank-yous from the students.
“They really learn to understand about ‘thank you’,” says Kabat, “because we write thank you notes, so the company or the person quickly knows how thankful we are. So often we have bigger projects and people donate a lot of money, so we will have to write a lot of thank you notes. So they’ve become experts.”
Since she started utilizing DonorsChoose in 2013, Kabat has completed 57 projects, and currently has three in the works. A science field trip and the 3-D printer among the some of Kabat’s favorite completed projects.
“Each student, each year is so creative and has so much to offer,” says Kabta. “I want to make sure I am able to stay up to date with the latest in education for my students.”
This is why one of Kabat’s current projects is for a Microsoft Surface Pro 3. She says with the Surface Pro she will be able to view webinars and participate in distance learning. In every way Kabat is striving to make her students’ future bright.
Charles Best, founder and CEO of DonorsChoose.org, says, “Our future environmental scientists need the right materials in the classroom today to ensure they’re prepared to meet the challenges of tomorrow.”
To learn more or donate: http://www.donorschoose.org/project/listening-do-you-hear-me/1456904/