(BPT) - Every summer, parents nationwide get ready for the upcoming school year by purchasing necessary school supplies. However, a whopping 92% of classrooms have students with families who can't afford many of the basics, according to AdoptAClassroom.org. Families are feeling stretched by inflation, forcing some to choose between buying new clothing, putting food on the table, or paying rent and utilities. Many teachers are also being pinched, with 96% already spending money out of their own pockets (an average of $860 each year) to help their students by purchasing necessary classroom supplies.
Preparing for this coming school year may be even more challenging, due to the rising costs of goods that are required for any classroom. For example, the cost of pencils is up 40%, and the price of a ream of paper is up 60%. These expenses — for families and teachers — are likely to reach an all-time high this summer. With the financial burden on teachers growing, even more students may enter classrooms without the items they need.
Mission-driven partnerships working to help
Nonprofit organizations and corporations are recognizing these challenges and working together to help make a difference for teachers and students. Over the last two years, for example, Subaru of America, Inc. has focused their Subaru Loves Learning® initiative on a partnership with AdoptAClassroom.org, which will support more than 470,000 students nationwide with school supply donations by this summer. This ongoing collaboration has been able to provide teachers across the country with flexible funding to purchase more of the supplies they need to help their students thrive. Students and educators are requiring even more support in face of today's unprecedented challenges, and the Subaru Loves Learning initiative helps pave the way toward childhood success and academic innovation.
"As families begin preparing for each new school year, not every student has the same opportunities to make the most of their education," said Alan Bethke, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Subaru of America, Inc. "Together with AdoptAClassroom.org, our retailers are helping to relieve some of the financial burden from teachers while helping all students secure the resources they need to learn and succeed in the classroom."
Recognizing the impact of social good across the country
The success of this initiative and many more are being recognized by Engage for Good's annual Halo Awards, North America's highest honors for corporate social impact initiatives engaging consumers or employees. The prestigious awards celebrate programs that blend brand purpose and social impact to build a better world and bottom line.
The Subaru Loves Learning initiative in partnership with AdoptAClassroom.org was recently recognized with the Gold Halo Award in the "Best Education Initiative" category. Their efforts have so far equipped 167,943 students with necessary school supplies, funding 5,699 classrooms across the U.S., with 100% of the funding going to high-needs schools. High need is defined as a school that has a Title I Schoolwide Program and/or a school where 40% of the student population qualifies for the free or reduced-price lunch program.
The initiative not only provides tangible items, but it also helps to make teachers feel appreciated and supported as professionals, boosting their morale — which can help make the difference between a teacher continuing to teach or leaving the profession. It also gives students equitable opportunities to succeed in school, regardless of their family's financial means.
"When you give under-resourced children new supplies, you make them feel valued, build their confidence and ease the mind of their parents," added Bethke. "Education is foundational for strong, healthy communities and gives children a pathway out of generational poverty."