Thanks to the generosity of two longtime partners, CPS teachers can now stock their classrooms without even leaving school grounds.
This week, World Vision and Chase quite literally “rolled out” the Mobile Teacher Resource Center (MTRC) – a traveling school supply store where everything is free. The first stop was Irma C. Ruiz Elementary School, where all 50 teachers eagerly picked up such classroom essentials as highlighters, binders, erasers, crayons, books, and art supplies.
“It is fantastic for us to receive these supplies, particularly given the economic challenges being faced by our District,” said Ruiz principal Dana Butler. “These resources will help support our focus on Common Core learning and will help our students get excited about school.”
Over the next several months, the MTRC will visit nearly 50 CPS schools, most of which serve a predominantly low-income population. The goal of the project is to ease the financial burden for families and reduce the need for teachers to buy classroom supplies with their own money.
“We know that teachers will always buy school supplies for their students, but still there are never enough,” said Rick Miltimore, Director of Resources and Relief for World Vision. “Our goal is to help close that gap.”
Active in 100 countries, World Vision is a humanitarian organization that works with children, families and communities to address issues of child welfare such as shelter, health and education. The group has a number of stationary school supply centers throughout the U.S., including one in Chicago, but felt that CPS required a more mobile alternative.
“Rather than ask teachers from such a large district to travel to us, we decided to come to them,” said Miltimore. “And we’ve found that by doing so, 100 percent of the teachers from a school will participate. They are so happy to see us and so eager to access supplies – it usually takes teachers less than 10 minutes to fill their bags.”
The MTRC is being funded by Chase, which already provided school supply kits for 20,000 CPS students as part of the District’s 2013 Back to School Campaign. By providing school supplies for this traveling resource center, Chase hopes to impact an additional 30,000 students during the 2013-14 school year.
The kickoff event at Ruiz was attended by over 100 educators from the approximately 50 schools that will be served by the MTRC. The program included a performance by the Ruiz student choir and remarks from representatives of CPS, Chase, and World Vision, after which everyone had the opportunity to tour the mobile store.
“We have been serving Chicago for many years, and are excited to expand our reach with this mobile resource program,” said Rick Miltimore. “It is our privilege to help support CPS teachers and make them feel their value. We hope these supplies will give them a lift and help get their students excited about learning.”