When Erika Rowell thinks back on her 2013 job interview at Plaza Towers Elementary School in Oklahoma, she specifically remembers the abundance of supplies in her predecessor’s classroom.
“I was overwhelmed with how much I would have,” says Rowell, who was interviewing for a pre-kindergarten teacher job. “I was very excited about that.”
Then, the unthinkable happened. A devastating tornado hit Moore, Oklahoma, killing seven Plaza Towers Elementary School children and completely destroying the school. When Rowell started her new job, she had nothing.
“Tables, chairs, that was it,” says Rowell, whose class was housed temporarily in a junior high school. “I had no curriculum yet and no supplies of any kind.”
That’s when Rowell turned to DonorsChoose — a nonprofit that allows individuals to donate supplies to schools in need. Through DonorsChoose supporters, Rowell was able to equip her classroom with doll houses, play cars, math games and a pretend center. She turned her barebones classroom into a safe space where children could forget the devastation that bulldozed their community.
“It looked like a class that had been there for years,” she says. “This was the first time [kids] could kind of just really be free from all the outside mess and come to school and learn and forget about everything else going on.”
Rowell has since moved on to teaching third grade at a nearby building. She still uses DonorsChoose when supplies are running low. When she thinks about how the DonorsChoose community helped her in the months following the tornado, she says she is “astounded.”
“Many of these children were without anything because they lost everything. Students had so much to do and so many things to utilize in the classroom from DonorsChoose. They didn’t ever have to go, ‘Oh, I don’t have anything,'” Rowell says.
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Source: Black Voices Huffington Post
Link: When This Teacher Lost Her Classroom In A Tornado, DonorsChoose Came To The Rescue