“What is your favorite humanitarian effort?” I posed this question during our Monthly Leadership & Management meeting in August. I wanted to get a sense of what was important to our leaders at WhirlWind Technologies, and to vote on our next philanthropy project. The answers ranged from mental health advocacy to global relief, but what seemed to resonate the most is the topic of youth and education and helping under served communities.
The timing of the discussion coincided with the beginning of the 2018 school year. By the end of the discussion, we voted to donate school supplies to children in need. We picked Oaklands Elementary School, in Laurel Maryland, because it is a Title I school. Title I is part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) which supports schools with large concentrations of low-income students in meeting its students’ educational goals.
Eight students in total were selected, a boy and a girl from 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade and 5th grade respectively. The classrooms we chose were also being taught by new teachers to the school, and we hoped equipping the students in their classrooms would also ease the teacher’s experience.
Being a mom with a school age child, this cause is close to my heart. I took my son to go shopping for supplies at Walmart. We printed the Prince George’s county school system list of suggested school supplies and spent the day selecting the book bags and supplies, while discussing our civic responsibility and the importance of lending a hand to people who are struggling in our community.
A little goes a long way too, as we heard back from Candice Nicholson, the 2nd grade teacher “Since I work at a Title 1 school, kids always need supplies that their parents can’t afford. Well, WhirlWind saved the day, when I was able to give supplies to not one, but two students.”
Meanwhile, Taylor Mcleod, the 3rd grade teacher spoke from a new teacher’s perspective, “This is my first year of teaching. I had no idea how hard teaching is. I didn’t know that all parents don’t buy their kids school supplies. That made me sad because I can’t afford school supplies for all the students in my class. Thank you WhirlWind, for taking some of that stress away from this first year teacher.”
“Thank you, WhirlWind, for supporting the needs of our students,” Jewel Preston, the Principal of the school, added. “ Companies like yours make my job easier.”
I am proud to be part of a company that takes its social responsibility seriously. Our vision includes empowering our community and future leaders. Our purpose is to help people to understand and fulfill their potential, and sometimes that involves removing barriers so they can succeed. In our latest project, we hope giving students the tools they need will free them to focus on the important task at hand: learning.
What’s your favorite philanthropy effort? What does giving mean to you?