Laysha Ward and Teachers Talk Impact of Target's Back-to-School Buy One, Give One Campaign

July 29, 2014 - Article reads in
Target's Laysha Ward interviews teachers.

Target’s Buy One, Give One campaign is simple but powerful—for each select up&up school supply you buy through Aug. 2, Target will give another to the Kids In Need Foundation. Through the program, Target aims to donate up to $25 million in supplies, and potentially impact nearly two million kids.

The campaign also helps out many families and teachers in need. Families with school-age children spend more than $600 on back-to-school supplies. And according to the Department of Education, teachers spend an average of $400 to $500 out of their own pockets on classroom supplies each year.

Laysha Ward, president, Community Relations at Target, had the chance to ask two inspiring teachers — Linda Dowell of Leo Politi Elementary School in Los Angeles and Heidi Koury of Maxfield Elementary in St. Paul, Minn.— about the importance of having the right supplies in the classroom and the positive impact that makes on kids’ ability to learn.

Laysha: What first struck you about Target’s Buy One, Give One program?

Linda: Target has always been very generous to our schools. The Buy One, Give One program provides hope to students whose families don’t have the means to fully prepare for the first days of school. I know the confidence that it will provide.

Heidi: I’m pleased that our teachers will have access to even more supplies than in the past through this program!

Laysha: Unfortunately, some families don’t have the means to purchase the necessary school supplies. What is it like to see students attend the first day of school empty handed?

Linda: When a child comes to school empty handed on the first day of school, my heart just breaks. Not having school supplies, like a backpack to transport homework or parent information, starts everyone off on the wrong foot. Kids want to go to school with pride and excitement, not worry and insecurity.

Heidi: Students who come to school with school supplies are a rarity in our school. When students who don’t have supplies see others who do, they often feel bad or ashamed. Every year, our teachers and staff have to provide all or most of the supplies students use in their classrooms.

Laysha: What supplies do you find students and teachers need most frequently?

Heidi: Sharpened pencils and erasers are the most important! While they also need notebooks, binders, pens, backpacks and more, pencils and erasers are used the most and the quickest.

Laysha: Have you seen confidence rise once kids are given the proper resources?

Linda: A child that’s given the resources they need to organize themselves at home and in class knows the power it brings. With binders to keep track of homework and research, journals to write and use for reference, crayons and markers to create, and a backpack to transport it all from here to there, they feel empowered.

Heidi: Students are able to feel confident in their learning when they have the supplies they need.

Laysha: How do students typically react when they are given new school supplies?

Linda: I’ve seen their eyes brighten, and huge smiles fill their faces. They are always so grateful to receive anything.

Heidi: Students are appreciative and so excited. They also feel relieved to know that, despite their families’ inability to provide all for the supplies they will need for school, they have access to the things they need.

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