FOLCROFT, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- "Teachers should know that they have the support of the community and it wouldn't feel that way if they had to always buy their own supplies or make up the difference," said Raelyn Harman.
A former social worker and church administrator, Harman shifted gears in 2020 to help educators get the tools they need. She created 'Teachers' Teammates,' a non-profit dedicated to acquiring new or gently-used classroom essentials to distribute across Delaware County.
"All it takes is a $35 membership a year that either the teacher or sponsor pays for," she said, "And then that allows them access to thousands of dollars in supplies."
Although teachers are often provided with materials to start the school year, additional resources and creative endeavors generate out-of-pocket costs. Teachers' Teammates was designed to lessen that burden.
Harman started accepting donations in her garage. But it quickly outgrew her own home. Through community partnerships, she acquired a warehouse where she receives and stores mountains of donations.
Currently, the service is only offered to teachers by invitation who work at Delaware County schools where at least 65% of students qualify for the National School Lunch Program. Harman hopes that the nonprofit will grow enough to see all Delaware County schools eventually included.
Among current volunteers are retired teachers and current students at Delaware County Technical School.
"I've had plenty of good teachers that I think deserve so much more," said Anthony Dick, who is currently studying logistics and inventory management. "It breaks my heart to know that sometimes some teachers don't have it as good as others, you know."
With more community support, teachers will be able to craft better educational environments for much less cost.
Teachers' Teammates is currently accepting donations to help students start their second semester off strong after the holidays. To learn more about the non-profit, visit their website.
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