Any public school teacher, anywhere in the nation, can tell you there’s a need for donated school supplies. After 13 years teaching at a school full of immigrant kids, from families just scarping by, many of them just learning English, Jeimy Solis has seen everything.
"There's some kids that come with nothing and I pick up things when I go shopping for my personal kids, I always pick up two or three more book bags, I pick up shoes, I pick up pencils, crayons, glues, rulers, everything, basic essentials that they might need," Solis explained.
A first-grade teacher, Solis stocks extra supplies in her classroom cabinets and passes them out to her students at South Hialeah Elementary School whenever they need them. She knows having the proper tools helps them academically and emotionally.
"I don't want the children to feel that they don't have the opportunity to be at the top because of the financial hardships they have at home," Solis said.
According to a survey done by Communities in Schools, a non-profit organization which provides booster services for urban schools, an astounding 91% of teachers nationwide spend at least some of their own money on classroom supplies. The reasons why are not mysterious. Most teachers are in the profession because they feel it’s their calling, and they’re not going to leave an acute need unmet.
"Our boys and girls know that they come in to a teacher who cares about them, they know the difference that their teacher is making in their lives. It's unbelievable to see the heart and passion in the work that they do," said Linette Tellez, the principal at South Hialeah Elementary.
Solis sees herself in some of her students. She grew up in a single parent household and says she went through periods in her childhood when she didn’t have some basic necessities. So now she’s investing in future generations.
"If you have the means to help a child in our schools, please do, because every child deserves a chance," Solis said, imploring anyone who can to take part in the Supporting Our Schools supply drive. "If they succeed, I succeed."