United Way of Greenbrier Valley works to identify underserved populations, address community needs, and fill in the gaps when resources are scarce. One such group of underserved community members that United Way identified is teachers and aides. Project Apple Seed is an education initiative aimed at assisting public school teachers in the Greenbrier Valley with the cost of classroom materials, supplies, and the basic needs that arise for students.
In September 2017 a survey of teachers and aides in Greenbrier and Monroe Counties was conducted by United Way and asked the question, “What types of materials/supplies have you purchased for your classroom and/or students?” More than 100 survey results revealed that educators consistently spend their own money to purchase classroom supplies, basic needs items, and hygiene products for their students.
Depending on the county, teachers are allotted around $100 annually via state Faculty Senate funds to purchase supplies for their classrooms. Aides do not receive these funds. These already underpaid educators more often than not end up spending their own money, on average $75 more per year. Basic needs such as hygiene products, winter coats, and proper footwear are not covered by Faculty Senate funds. When teachers become aware of these needs, they use personal resources to provide these items to their students.
United Way has collaborated with Greenbrier, Monroe, and Pocahontas County Boards of Education for the design and implementation of Project Apple Seed. This project would not only provide for the basic needs of low income students in our region, but will also create an atmosphere of respect and support for teachers and aides. Project Apple Seed will enable educators to more adequately respond to the needs of their students, thus creating a healthier learning and teaching environment.
We are excited to launch this initiative in the fall of the 2018-19 school year and hope you will support it with a gift. As always, any contribution to the United Way of Greenbrier Valley is an investment in our small but mighty communities. We appreciate your support!