“Giving Tree” provides school supplies to Douglas County students in need
by Lisa Crockett
The difference between success and failure at school can be as simple as a pencil and paper. Each school year, Douglas County students receive a list of supplies they will need to complete their work throughout the school year – things like paper, rulers, glue, crayons and markers. For some students, buying the supplies on the list is simply out of reach financially.
A group of alumni from Leadership Douglas County, a coalition of civic and business leaders, is working to alleviate this need. The effort – called the “Giving Tree, Douglas County United for Students” — is being spearheaded by volunteer and community advocate, Susan Squyer.
Though the supply lists don’t request extravagant items, roughly 4,000 students in the district qualify for free or reduced-cost lunches and a faltering economy is stretching many family budgets thinner than in years past. Squyer is working with the Douglas County Educational Foundation to gather supplies and provide them to students and schools with the greatest need.
“Last year, I had an idea to help the food bank for the Douglas/Elbert Task Force. As part of that process, fellow volunteer Sharon Nimichek reached out to local schools and discovered that many schools begin to run out of supplies starting in about March,” said Squyer. “Providing supplies helps students in need, but also helps teachers. By having a supply ‘bank’, teachers and schools can request supplies whenever they need them throughout the year.”
Local businesses got in on the act. Four Safeway stores in Douglas County accepted donations, UBS Financial Services Company encouraged donations from employees, and California Café sponsored a “Plates for Pencils” promotion to its customers, offering a free appetizer-type item to customers who donated $10 worth of supplies.
“Because we can get supplies at cost, a little money goes a long way,” said Squyer. Just $20 will supply one elementary classroom with basic supplies (paper, glue, scissors and rulers) for a year.
The drive last year focused on the Lone Tree area, but this year has gone county-wide. Donations of supplies can be taken to the Castle Pines Library until Friday, August 6. Cash donations will be accepted by the Douglas County Educational Foundation by visiting www. schools.dcsdk12.org/education, and clicking on the “Fill the Gap” link.
Donations of the following supplies are requested:
pecils, notebook paper, mini pencil sharpeners, glue sticks, Kleenex, dry-erase markers, regular markers, crayons, pencil tip erasers, disinfectant wipes, dry-erase erasers, Post-it notes, scissors (remember lefties too), tape, and calculators.