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Put Schools in the Forefront of Your Charitable Giving This Year

It’s no secret that the downturn in the economy has hit everyone, not the least of which are public schools. The amount of money provided by the State of Tennessee has been cut dramatically, not only to the school system but to raises for teachers.

What can you do to help?

First, be aware that schools need assistance in forms other than through monetary donations. Your volunteering can be a great benefit. Here are some ways you can help: being a parent contact for your child’s homeroom, painting a hall or classroom, assisting with gardening, assembling materials, working at special days at school (picture day, field day, the walk-a-thon, Read Across America Day, awards days, Book Fair, Teacher Appreciation Week, etc.), and volunteering to help a child read or work on math facts. Your presence at school can enhance learning in innumerable ways.

If you have a little money to contribute, you can add a few school supplies to donate. As school begins, many stores run special sales. If you pick up only one or two extra items to donate to your child’s classroom or the library or the music classes or the computer lab, you can help a family that may struggle to provide these items. A box of tissues or some hand sanitizer or pencils or extra notebook paper is always welcome. These items can be donated throughout the year as well, because the need is daily from the beginning of school until the last bell rings.

Art materials—construction paper, crayons, markers, drawing paper, calligraphy pens, pastels, paints, rulers, erasers, etc.—are always welcome.

Music classes can always use extra instruments (drums, recorders, rhythm instruments, etc.), books about composers and musical styles, and help with programs. If you are a musician who would be willing to perform at school, get in touch with the music teacher to arrange a time.

Don’t forget that you can donate a library book in honor of your child or a family member. Library books are always welcome.
Computer paper and copy paper are used extensively at schools. The cost of this paper is one of the major portions of individual school budgets. The company you work for may be willing to donate for these items as well.

If you are planning a memorial for a loved one, consider donating a park bench for the grounds of your school, or making a donation that will help buy another computer for a classroom.

County, state or federal funds provide a computer lab in each school, but classrooms need computers too. Here’s another place your workplace may have funds that can help out. Every major company and many small business has funds for community outreach. Remember your child’s school and nominate it for these grants.

If you learn of a grant that is available for school needs, please let your school representative know about it.

Schools are not isolated entities. They are at the heart of every community because children are our future. All of us need to work together to provide the best education we can so that our businesses prosper and our citizens have healthy, productive lives.

Make your school a priority in this year’s plans. After all, we’re all in this together.

Sue Freeman Culverhouse
Sue Freeman Culverhousehttp://culverhouseart.com/
Author of Tennessee Literary Luminaries: From Cormac McCarthy to Robert Penn Warren (The History Press, 2013) Sue Freeman Culverhouse has been a freelance writer for the past 36 years. Beginning in 1976, she published magazines articles in Americana, Historic Preservation, American Horticulturist, Flower and Garden, The Albemarle Magazine, and many others. Sue is the winner of two Virginia Press Awards in writing. She moved to Springfield, Tennessee in 2003 with her sculptor husband, Bill a retired attorney. Sue has one daughter,  Susan Leigh Miller who teaches poetry and creative writing at Rutgers University. Sue teaches music and writing at Watauga Elementary School in Ridgetop, Tennessee to approximately 500 students in kindergarten through fifth grade. She also publishes a literary magazine each year; all work in the magazine is written and illustrated by the students. Sue writes "Uncommon Sense," a column in the Robertson County Times, which also appears on Clarksville Online. She is the author of "Seven keys to a sucessful life", which is  available on amazon.com and pubishamerica.com; this is a self-help book for all ages.
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