Making sure students have what they need

Aug 8, 2019 | Blog

“We will take crayons all day long, but the first thing we always run out of is personal hygiene items (for students).”

“Traditionally, people think of paper, pens, and folders for back to school supplies. Teachers spend lots of money on cleaning supplies, too.”

~ Margaret Sheehan, Executive Director

Teachers’ Treasures

It’s sad to know that so many at-risk students go to school every day without the basic supplies they need to do their schoolwork. It’s worse, as a lot of teachers report, that personal hygiene is also a pressing issue among many disadvantaged children.

While programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) help provide school lunches for children in need, they don’t pay for things like notebooks and personal hygiene products. Nor do such programs pay for the classroom cleaning supplies that Margaret Sheehan of Teachers’ Treasures brings up.

Unfortunately, the expense for all these items continues to fall to teachers who witness these problems day in and day out. On average for each school year, teachers in central Indiana spend $800 to $1,200 of their own money on school and cleaning supplies — and even on items such as toothbrushes and toothpaste when needed.

These students and teachers need help… which is where Teachers’ Treasures comes in.

About Teachers’ Treasures

From their website: Teachers’ Treasures was founded in 2000 by a retired school principal, Phyllis Imel, who wished to continue helping the at-risk children in the community succeed in school.

​The “free store for teachers” opened in a small unused area in the basement of Washington Community School on the near Westside (of Indianapolis). A dedicated staff of volunteers began seeking product and financial contributions which could be used to provide teachers with the educational supplies and materials needed by the children in their classrooms. As awareness and interest grew throughout the educational and business communities, so did the need for more room. This need was met by Kroger, who leased a former store at 1800 E. 10th Street to the organization for a nominal fee. In September 2007, Teachers’ Treasures opened a new location almost three times larger than the original space.

Continued help from the local business community

This year ClearObject helped make a difference in at least 102 students’ lives by donating much-needed personal hygiene items and cleaning suppliesto the Teacher’s Treasures effort. The supplies were distributed to schools and classrooms in communities that most needed assistance, with the goal to help these students reach their highest potential.

Yet it never seems to be enough.

Now that many children in need are back in school, and like the ClearObject Cares initiative, our hope is that other local companies will pitch in via their own similar programs. We’re sure many businesses in the central Indiana community already have, and they are to be commended.

After all, there’s a sense of knowing a kid’s life could change dramatically with just a new toothbrush to go along with new pen and folder. Same thing for the teachers who appreciate even a few rolls of paper towels and a bottle of spray cleaner for their classroom.

For organizations that might not be aware of programs like Teachers’ Treasures and their mission? Consider this an invite.

The children and the teachers you help will appreciate your efforts more than you know.