Imagine trying to focus in science class at a new school while having no idea where you will sleep that very evening. Perhaps your family fled from the country where you were born and you had to leave your loved ones, friends, and everything you know and own behind. Maybe you were born right here in Orange County, and your family has been living in continuous uncertainty if another unexpected bill will have you on the move again, this time to a different relative’s apartment, an extended-stay motel, or even force your family to split up to stay at a local shelter.

The chaos of being shuffled in with dozens of new classmates halfway through the school year is overwhelming. How will you be accepted and make friends when your access to running water is limited, when doing laundry and putting on a new outfit is a luxury? How can you keep up with the other students academically when you arrived in the middle of lessons they’ve been studying for weeks, when completing homework is hopeless because having crayons and paper at “home” are indulgences your family simply does not have?

“This school year, more than 3,000 students in Orange County public schools have been identified as living in homelessness or housing instability. Typically, it’s just below 2,000.” – Foundation for Orange County Public Schools

Now imagine what the compassion of just one teacher, aware of your unique circumstances, could do to change your entire perspective. When a teacher gives a child facing homelessness the hygiene products and clean clothes they don’t have access to outside of school, they are giving that child the confidence to reach out to their peers, to participate in activities, to make friends. A teacher’s gift of a few new school supplies, before a child enters yet another class empty-handed, represents something worth far more than the physical supplies themselves. It is the gift of hope.

For a student facing the greatest hardships, this gift will help them to stop seeing school as a place of shame, and come to embrace it as a place of safety and excitement. Imagine the spark of creativity and the thirst for learning that is ignited in a child by simply offering them a new box of crayons and some paper to call their own. Picture the pride in their smile when they come back the next day, completed assignments in hand, showing off their true capacities at an equal pace alongside their new classmates.

“Children living in homelessness can feel that they are different from others, even if they don’t understand why. Because of A Gift For Teaching, every child in my class feels like they have a purpose in the world.” – Orange County public school teacher

A Gift for Teaching empowers teachers with free educational resources throughout the year to offer this beacon of hope to their students who need it most. Eligible teachers have the opportunity to shop in a retail store, online, and on a mobile unit for free supplies, including pencils, notebooks, books, backpacks, clothing, hygiene items, and more, all generously donated and funded by the community.

While having the essential supplies to learn is vital at the beginning of each school year, these are often severely depleted by the end of the first semester. A meaningful financial gift today can help ensure the teachers and students in our community remain equipped with as much opportunity for success in the second half of the school year as they were at the beginning, regardless of their circumstances.

You can make an impact that lasts well beyond one day. Consider upgrading your special gift to join The Honor Roll with an automatic-recurring monthly gift.

$25 a month can equip 3 local classrooms with essential supplies all year! Your generous monthly gift will ignite confidence and an interest in learning within our future leaders, and continue the impactful work of A Gift for Teaching.