My students come from a very depressed area in Michigan. Flint is sadly known as the top crime area of the US. Its disheartening to know that some of these students have experienced things that many adults have not experienced over a whole lifetime. Coming to school is a safe haven for some. Because I work with the elementary level K-2nd, some of these students have never had access to art materials such as paint, scissors or clay. Some have never even held a pencil or crayon. I teach art on a cart because of the limited space of classrooms. I have to take the art into the classrooms on a cart that I decorate each year for the students. I have to fill containers with water and put those on the cart as well if I choose to do paint with the students. (paint is their favorite thing to do) Teaching at this level is very challenging, but extremely rewarding when they can do an art project that they feel proud of. I spend many hours displaying or sharing with the class their art to give them a sense of accomplishment. Several students over the past three years tell me that art is their favorite thing in school. Students are continually asking me when the next art class is, or what we will be making next. With all of the cuts schools have had to make over the past few years, art unfortunately is hit extremely hard. I am very frugal, and have always been great at supplementing or stretching materials. Hitting yard sales over the summer months, and purchasing things on my own helps a little. However, times are not getting better and "yard sale" bulk items, along with donations from family and friends has been dwindling.
A donation from this great "Adopt a Classroom" program would allow me to bring exciting art projects and fun experiences into the lives of these special students. I could purchase much needed supplies that would stretch across all my grade levels. With 12 classes (K-2) at 30+ students each, supplies can only be stretched so far.