Earlier this summer, ThinkFun was contacted by Loree Green, an incredible Gifted Teacher in Bullard, Texas. Loree volunteered to Adopt-a-Classroom in Joplin, Missouri that had been destroyed by the tornado back in May, and she was reaching out with a very specific request. Among other special items lost, the teacher specifically wanted to replace a copy of a beloved SmartMouth game. We were more than happy to help with a donation of this, plus 15 other new games to help restock this classroom!
Upon returning from her recent trip to help with classroom setup, Loree shared the following letter to friends and family about her experience – it’s incredible to read how many friends and companies supported this project, and it gives me goosebumps to think about the impact one teacher’s kind outreach will have on an entirely new community of young learners in the coming school year!
I just want to share with you the exciting things that have happened since I signed up to Adopt-a-Classroom. First a little background of what led me to do so. I will be teaching 5th and 6th Gifted and Talented this next year, I wanted one component of our program to be Community Service. As I thought about what it means to be “gifted”, it came to me that the purpose of giftedness is to give. One of the things I wanted my students to think about as school begins is what their gifts and talents are and how they can use them to help others. We will be participating in a different service project each 6 weeks.
When thinking about the concept of “Gifted to Give”, I realized I needed to answer the question for myself. As I thought about my talents, I joked with my husband that I have some talent at “decorating a classroom”. I then wondered where that talent could be used to help someone else. It came to me that many of the schools in Joplin, Missouri had been destroyed during the tornado in May. Many of their schools were destroyed. I could not imagine starting over in my classroom. This is where I could help!
I contacted Bright Futures and applied to be a part of the “Adopt-a-Classroom” program. Last week I packed up items to take to Joplin to help a teacher named Amanda Pliler. She teaches 3rd-5th grade children in a Special Education classroom. My friend Patti Porter generously offered to go with me. She was golden!! Amanda and her husband were so sweet, we had so much fun making over her classroom. We left Texas early that morning and arrived in Joplin around 1:30 that afternoon, 4 hours later we were finished and left to return home. It was a “tornado” in reverse!
I would like to tell you about all the exciting ways that different people have helped with this project. I received a “Wish List” from Amanda, on it she listed several books from the Evan-Moor publishing company. I contacted them with her list and they immediately boxed up 44!! books and sent them, Amazing.
Next I emailed ThinkFun and asked them for a game she had mentioned, they were so supportive sending that game and 15 others! I’ll be posting some information on their blog. They went above and beyond anything we had hoped! Exciting!Amanda had mentioned that she wanted to decorate her room in a kind of “Candyland” theme, I Googled that and kept coming up with photos of a GummiBear lamp. I found the designer to order the lamp, but couldn’t afford it. It was a crazy $125.00! So I emailed this company (Jellio) his business is located in NYC. The owner emailed me his phone number and I talked to him at length. He was great, he sent 20 or so lamps, and some of their gummibear clothing for her students! He has been so enthusiastic.
I went to “Adventures in Learning” and they loaded up a cart full of books and items for me to bring. I also sent out a letter to my GT students about getting involved and had several replies.
Every day people respond with so much kindness and enthusiasm that it takes my breath away!
Loree also shared this recent email message from the teacher she helped in Joplin. I can read her gratitude and excitement for this fresh beginning in every uppercase letter and exclamation point!
THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!! Words cannot express how grateful I am. My classroom looks amazing. Everyday I walk into my classroom, I think what a blessing you are to me. You are very thoughtful and generous!! Just looking around my room makes me smile. Not only did you provide the decorations, materials, and resources for my room — you saved me time. Some teachers are still decorating their classrooms… AND open house was tonight! Teachers come to my room to get out of their cluttered, non-organized classroom. My kids are going to love the room. Everyone that walks in always has a HUGE smile on their face. You went above and beyond my classroom dreams.
THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! I will keep you posted!!