Rare Reason to Smile for Bay Area Teachers

By Jodi Hernandez
|  Thursday, Mar 25, 2010  |  Updated 5:53 AM PDT
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Rare Reason to Smile for Bay Area Teachers

Jodi Hernandez

After weeks of getting hammered with pink slips, low performing school designations and budget cuts, some Bay Area teachers are getting a much needed morale boost.

The Napa Valley Education Foundation has opened a new school supply store where teachers can shop for free.   The Change 4 Kids store offers everything from glue sticks to dry erase boards.  But the best part -- teachers don't have to pay a penny.

"What we like to tell the teachers is everything is on sale everyday for 100 percent off," said store co-founder Carolyn Mark. She says each of the Napa district's 900 teachers will be treated to two shopping sprees a year.

And the help couldn't come at a better time. With budgets shrinking and class size growing, teachers are dipping deeper into their own pocket books.

First grade teacher Christine Doran says teachers spend as much as $3,000 a year for classroom supplies. Doran says the store will take a lot of that pressure off of teachers.

"It really really helps us especially since so many of us are losing our jobs and we're having furlough days and we don't make a lot to start with," said Doran.

While the store is fully stocked now, it will need ongoing support. The store received $28,000 worth of goods from Staples, but it'll need a steady supply of donations and volunteers to keep running. The store also needs a permanent home. 

"We have a lot of needs but we also have a lot of hopes and dreams," said Marks.

Doran was all smiles as she filled up her cart with crayons, paper and pencils for her students.

"This is just like Christmas," she said. "Not just having the things, but also that feeling of knowing someone cares about us and is showing it."

If you'd like to donate to the Change 4 kids program, you can email the Napa Valley Education Foundation at change4kids@nvef.org.

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