During the summer months, retail stores are abuzz with back-to-school shoppers and the aisles are filled with the latest book bags, lunch boxes and supplies. On the first day of school, students bring their new gear to class and begin putting it to use right away — or do they?
Imagine you’re a teacher, and you realize that several students in your class do not have the tools they need to participate in class because they simply can’t afford them. What would you do? Would you use your own limited funds to purchase supplies for the students in need? According to Steve Rubenstein, executive director of Dayton Crayons to Classrooms (DC2C), that is exactly what many teachers are doing. In fact, a 2017 Impact Study conducted by DC2C found that teachers in our area spend more than $500 per school year just to purchase needed supplies for their classrooms.
Dayton Parent spoke with Rubenstein to learn about DC2C and how they are helping these teachers to help our local students.
What is Dayton Crayons to Classrooms?
DC2C is a non-profit organization that provides a free retail-style store filled with the supplies and tools necessary for students to be successful in class. Teachers from under-funded, eligible schools are able to “shop” for the items their students need, at no cost to them, thanks to individual donations and partnerships with local businesses.
How many schools are you serving in Dayton?
We are currently serving 110 high-need schools. To become eligible, a school must have at least 60 percent of their enrollment in need of a free or reduced-price lunch.
When can teachers shop, and is there a limit to the number of times or the amount for which they can shop?
Eligible teachers can shop once per semester. If needed, they can earn a third shopping trip by volunteering five hours at the store. Currently, there are no limits on the number of items they can take, there are only limits on individual items themselves. For example, a limit of one box of pencils, three boxes of crayons or five folders per trip.
For the current school year, the value of a shopping trip at DC2C is averaging $761 per teacher! Ninety-six percent of the teachers we survey say supplies they’re able to obtain from our store are critical to their daily classroom activities across all grade levels.
How can the community can get involved?
Like all non-profit organizations, we rely on public support to fund our mission. We receive most of our support from individuals, foundations and corporations. We do not receive local, state or federal government money. If anyone is interested in being a volunteer, learning more about DC2C or wishes to donate, they can visit our website at www.dc2c.org.