Making a teacher's day better

One of the nicest things about being a blogger is getting the opportunity to participate in some really great programs and attend some really cool events. I'm not talking about product launches or blogger parties (although those are really cool too!), I'm talking about getting to make a difference in the community and in people's lives.

Yesterday I got to watch as OfficeMax presented a local teacher with $1000 in school supplies -- one of 1,000 such events that took place all around the country as part of OfficeMax's A Day Made Better program. It was so much fun to see Teacher Liz and her students get so excited at seeing her new office chair, corkboard, printer, camera and more!

Then, after all the excitement died down and all the OfficeMax people drove away, I got to do a little teacher surprise of my own. Last week, OfficeMax sent me a box of school supplies to give to a local schoolteacher of my choice. The box had a variety of essentials to help make a teacher's life easier: markers, pens, pencils, sticky notes, scissors, notepads, pen trays, sharpeners, a hand sanitizer, and more.

Since I was already at a local school to attend the $1000 A Day Made Better event, I decided to bring the box along and ask the principal if there was any other teacher who could use it. Dr. Judy, the principal was only too happy to help; after all, the school is located in a low income area and 68% of the kids there qualify for free or reduced-cost lunch (to qualify, a family of four must have an annual income of $28,000 or less). Parents can barely afford rent and food, much less school supplies for their kids.

The classroom that Dr. Judy chose was Mrs. C's 1st grade classroom. After seeing Teacher Liz receive $1000 in school supplies, my piddly little $100 box felt so small and meager, and I wished there were something I could do to give Mrs. C's presentation a bit more hoopla and extravaganza.

It turns out that I needn't have worried. Mrs. C was delighted, and so were her students! They Oohed and Ahhed at every item that came out of that box. Before we opened the box, I made a little speech about how OfficeMax wanted to help Mrs. C because she was doing so much to help them, and asked them to share their thoughts about how Mrs. C helped them learn. Many of her students are not native English speakers, and they really had to struggle to express themselves and find the right words to describe why they thought Mrs. C deserved the OfficeMax box -- but that didn't stop any of them from eagerly raising their hands. You could tell they wanted praise their teacher and were happy she got such a nice gift.

Come to think of it, $100 is not so small. When you're a teacher faced with the prospect of spending your own money to equip your classroom, even $100 helps, and I know that Mrs. C and her students will get some good use out of that little box. It was great to see the smiles on their faces, and I'm so happy I had a small part in putting those smiles there.

Have I mentioned how much I love being a blogger?

How You Can Help
* Organize your own Day Made Better surprise for your favorite teacher: Gather together a box of new school supplies, or purchase a discounted box of school supplies through Adopt-A-Classroom and A Day Made Better.

* Donate directly to your favorite teacher's classroom through Adopt-A-Classroom

* Spread the word about A Day Made Better via Facebook, Twitter, email or your blog.

* Join my Day Made Better giveaway on Bonggamom Finds for the chance to win a $50 OfficeMax gift card to buy supplies for your own favorite teacher. You can increase your chances of winning by leaving a comment on this post!

Disclaimer: I received no compensation for this post or my participation in this program. I actually pestered OfficeMax until they relented and let me tag along to today's A Day Made Better event!

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