Everyday Hero: The Kids Dont Have Supplies at Home: Cleveland Art Teacher Raises Money for Student Supplies

Everyday Hero: The Kids Dont Have Supplies at Home: Cleveland Art Teacher Raises Money for Student Supplies

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CLEVELAND — As teachers and students are adjusting to virtual learning, many teachers are facing an additional challenge of students not having all of the supplies they need for class each day. A Cleveland-based art teacher is working to raise money to buy art supplies for her students.

What You Need To Know

  • Jessica Geftic teaches art at Garfield Elementary School
  • Geftic is fundraising through Donors Choose to raise money to buy supplies for more than 600 students
  • If Geftic does not reach her fundraising goals, the money will be returned to the donors, and she won’t be able to purchase the supplies

Justin Will is the store manager at Blick art store in Cleveland Heights. In 12 years of working at the store, he’s seen no shortage of teachers stocking up on art supplies for their classrooms.

“Nowadays, it’s things that are affordable. So, more on the drawing side—pencils, pens, charcoal, paper. You know, rulers. Glue. Really pretty simple stuff,” said Will.

But in the age of coronavirus, many teachers are having to rely on students having supplies they need readily available at home—something that can be tricky for art teachers.

“There’s some basic things that people might have in their house but most of them aren’t just laying around,” said Will.

Jessica Geftic is an art teacher at Garfield Elementary School in Cleveland. She’s teaching nearly 600 students virtually with many not having supplies for their work.

“It’s really hard because the kids don’t have the supplies at home at the moment. So, they’re using notebook paper. Some are using some crayons. The technology, obviously, we’re having the same problem. It’s not working,” said Geftic.

On top of students not having supplies at home, Geftic is worried about them sharing supplies and spreading germs once they are back in the classroom. So, she found a solution to the problem. She started an online fundraiser to raise money to buy supplies for each one of her students.

“I started it because I have so many students and usually we use like 30 sets of paint, and then every kid uses the same paints in the building. So, I thought about, well, every kid is touching those paints. Every kid is spreading germs. We don’t have enough sanitizer to clean everything. Or there’s like no more wipes left anymore for Clorox wipes. So I wanted a way that every kid will have their own bag to be safe in the classroom and still have a real art class,” said Geftic.

Geftic’s online fundraiser is through a site called “Donors Choose.” She selected all of the supplies she needs and once all of the money is donated, the items will be purchased and sent directly to the school.

“I mean, I never realized how much art supplies cost. I mean, I always knew how much they cost but when you buy 600 of everything, I feel like I’m stealing everything from Crayola,” said Geftic.

Geftic still needs almost $3,000 to meet her goal. And she’s a few weeks from learning if her students will return to the classroom or continue learning virtually. Either way, she still wants to be sure her students have what they need even going so far as to come up with the supplies on her own if the goal isn’t met.

“The other day, one little girl didn’t have crayons in class. She didn’t have them at home. So, it was hard because I can’t be there to say, like, ‘Oh, here’s a pack of crayons.’ So, I mean if I really have to, I’ll have to buy them out of my own pocket and just drop them off at their houses if I have to.

Geftic said she also misses having her students in the classroom so she can give them the guidance and encouragement need.

“Like, we were doing a project the other day and they just needed help folding the paper, and if I was there, I could’ve just helped them. And if felt so bad. I just wanted to just jump through the screen and help them and come back.”

If Geftic doesn’t meet her fundraising goal by the time the fundraiser ends all of the money will be returned to the donors. You can donate to Geftic’s fundraiser here.


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