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Supplies in Hand, Pittsburgh Students Craft Their Futures

Supplies In Hand4

When students at West Liberty Elementary School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, were called down to the school gymnasium for a special presentation on Nov. 9, they came prepared. Each student would be leaving the assembly with their own set of school supplies, and they made banners to show their thanks.

In June, BBF provided a grant to sponsor West Liberty Elementary in The Education Partnership’s Adopt-A-School program, giving each of the school’s 200 students their own bag of notebooks, pencils, folders, crayons, and just about anything else they might need to succeed for the remainder of the school year.

Over 60% of the students at West Liberty PreK-5 come from low-income families, and 100% of the students qualify for the National School Lunch Program through the Community Eligibility Provision.

In Pennsylvania, state funding only covers 38% of public education costs and local districts rely on property taxes to make up for the difference. In low-income areas such as West Liberty, this funding isn’t enough, and students from struggling families wind up attending struggling schools that often don’t have enough resources to provide students with basic school supplies.

BBF began sponsoring West Liberty Elementary in the Adopt-A-School program in 2022. This year marked the start of a three-year commitment that will make sure the school’s students and teachers have the school supplies they need to thrive in the classroom until 2026.

During the assembly, The Education Partnership’s Executive Director, Josh Whiteside, spoke to students about TEP’s partnership with Brother’s Brother Foundation.

“The Brother’s Brother Foundation is really cool because they’re actually really similar to The Education Partnership. They give away stuff, but they give it away to everybody in the world in need,” Whiteside explained to a gymnasium of third, fourth and fifth graders. “Here locally, we’re honored that they’ve allowed us to help deploy school supplies so that they’re not just all over the world, they’re right here, they’re here in your school.”

Students were then led through an activity that encouraged them to think about the kind of job they might want to have when they are older. Answers ranged from becoming a firefighter and joining the military to teaching and playing music.

Having school supplies, Whiteside said, will give the students the tools they need to start pursuing a future they are passionate about.

“Whether you’re in the classroom or you’re at home, you have everything you need to figure out what it is that you love to do,” he said.