An alumna wants students to volunteer to help elementary students in Oklahoma City.
“I would like to see OCU students volunteer at Edgemere,” said Joanna Eldridge, music performance alumna. “Money is great, but we really need support. College students have the ability to help the children and set a motivating example for them.”
Eldridge works as a special education teacher at Edgemere Elementary School, 3200 N Walker Ave., where she raised funds for projects to help students in her classroom.
Through DonorsChoose, a nonprofit organization created to connect teachers in high-need areas with donors, Eldridge completed two projects. Now she hopes to help other teachers complete projects of their own.
To set up a project through DonorsChoose, teachers write an essay describing the materials they need, what they will use them to accomplish, and how the project will change students’ lives.
If DonorsChoose approves the project, the teacher begins to fundraise. They receive a promo code via email to share with their friends and family.
If donors enter the code within the first seven days, their donations are matched, up to $100. This incentive helps motivate teachers to start and finish their fundraising early.
“The Foundation of Oklahoma City Public Schools will pay for half of any OKC teacher’s project, if it is less than $1,000,” Eldridge said. “I asked for $999 for my first project and raised the money in about two weeks.”
Elridge’s first project funded new reading sources and multi-level book sets to accommodate her students’ diverse abilities and learning styles.
Eldridge’s second project allowed her to purchase five different mathematics software programs and headphones for students to use.
She plans to enjoy the materials from both projects while helping other teachers reach their goals.
Edgemere is a community school, meaning it collaborates with the surrounding community through meetings and creating a personalized curriculum to fit students’ needs. At Edgemere, Eldridge teaches children who struggle with learning disabilities and emotional disturbances.
Eldridge said she hopes to gather more support from young people.
One student familiar with Edgemere said she is encouraged by Eldridge’s work.
“When I was in elementary school, Edgemere was known as the ghetto school,” said Tomorrow Denton, cell and molecular biology sophomore. “It’s inspiring to see the kids presented with these opportunities. I hope something similar happens to my elementary school.”
Visit edgemere.okcps.schooldesk.net and complete the survey to volunteer.