Yearning for Learning

081610FEATURE.jpg Yearning for Learning
"Teachers' aid" organizations
Knowledge is the key to success, so this week
Cincy Chic focuses on educational opportunities around the Tri-State. A couple of these opportunities even have easy ways for you to contribute, so read on to discover how you can help foster local kids' futures.

You wouldn't get far in life without learning to read or write or even to do simple math. That's right, education builds a foundation. And some foundations are working together to promote and support that education.


Supplying Everything from Crayons to Computers


Most people know that school teachers don't choose their career because of the money. But despite their low salary, many teachers give money right back to education by buying supplies for their students and classrooms. 081610FEATURE2.jpg


"In order to fulfill their needs in the classroom, they dig into their own pockets, and many spend $500 to $1,000 of their own money every year on school supplies," says Heather Egan, development director for Crayons to Computers.


To give teachers, schools, students and parents a break, Crayons to Computers serves as a free store for teachers in underprivileged schools. In order to be eligible to "shop" at this free store, teachers must come from a school that meets two criteria: 1) It is located within the organization's 15-county region, and 2) It has a high percentage of children on the national school lunch program. For this coming school year, Crayons to Computers has 245 schools on its eligibility list.


Teachers not on the eligibility list also can benefit from the organization by donating time. By volunteering for three hours, a teacher can receive a certificate to shop at Crayons to Computers. And each teacher who shops gets an entire cart full of free supplies. 061410VALLEYVIEW.GIF


With cart after cart of free goods, the organization gave away $11.5 million worth of supplies and educational materials for the 2009-2010 school year. To offer this opportunity to the Tri-State community, Crayons to Computers relies heavily on donations. They accept new and gently used donations, which can be anything that could be used in the classroom.


While pens, pencils and markers might come to mind, Crayons to Computers also has received items as unusual as 900 door bells from Nutone when the company moved out of the facilities in Madisonville. After receiving the donation offer from Nutone, the folks at Crayons to Computers talked to some science teachers who were excited by the opportunity to use the door bells to teach about electricity.


"We were so happy to go back to Nutone to say, 'We would be delighted to take 900 door bells!' And they were thrilled because they didn't throw them into a landfill, and the teachers were excited. So it's a real win-win-win when companies donate a product then we can give it to a teacher for another useful purpose," Egan says.


Crayons to Computers also accepts monetary donations, which can be used to buy products below wholesale prices. "For every dollar we receive, we can give away $10 worth of school supplies," Egan says. 0110Fence_INSTORY.gif


To make donating supplies a little easier, local Kroger, Staples and CVS locations offer collection bins for Crayons to Computers. For more information about the organization and how you can help, visit


Forming a Harmonious Partnership


While donating supplies might seem pretty easy, one education-focused program makes helping even easier. Pretty much all you have to do is eat and donate the proof of purchase or cap from the can, box, bottle or bag your food came in. Yes, Campbell's Labels for Education makes it that simple.


And just because it's Campbell's doesn't mean you have to eat soup to help. Labels for Education partners also include Prego, Swanson, V8, Pop Secret and more. Even your Bic pens, markers, highlighters and Wite-Out can help the cause.


With each UPC code or bottle cap from these products, schools earn points to use toward merchandise for the school. With art, athletic and academic merchandise up for grabs, schools can get everything from guitars and basketballs to microscopes and computers — using only product packaging you would usually just throw away. 081610FEATURE3.jpg


The Labels for Education program has been around since 1973, but just recently the program teamed up with the GRAMMY Foundation to put even more emphasis on music education in schools across the country.


In April this dynamic duo brought country singers Kate and Kacey Coppola to Mount Washington Elementary School to promote the importance of music education in schools. Beyond the celebrity appearance, the school also received 100,000 Labels for Education Bonus Points to use toward that educational merchandise, including musical instruments.


"Our partnership with The GRAMMY Foundation has enabled the Labels for Education program to provide schools access to the innovative resources students need today for a well-rounded music education," Labels for Education Director Anne Pizarro says. Through the partnership, the GRAMMY Foundation's Discovery Through Music curriculum will be made available to nearly 60,000 schools nationwide that are registered in this year's Labels for Education program.


For more information on how you can help or to find a local school to support, visit To learn more about how the GRAMMY Foundation supports music education, head to


Top Photo

Photographer: Neysa Ruhl
Models: Heather and Lilly Egan


Second Photo

Photo courtesy of Crayons to Computers

Bottom Photo
Photo courtesy of The Recording Academy®
Photographer: Joey Foley/

Linda Palacios -

Linda Palacios is the editor of Cincy Chic. Send her an e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .Read More >>

More articles by this author

Hairapist in TrainingHairapist in Training
Hairapist in Training As your hair is cut, sculpted and shaped,...
Picking Herself up, Aiming HighPicking Herself up, Aiming High
Picking Herself up, Aiming High After 20 years in business, this...