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Lawrence: ‘Adopt-A-Grade an easy way to help teachers’

By: Donnamy Steele

After noticing the amount of money teachers put into their students and classrooms without aid, three community members decided to step up.

Adopt a Grade is an easy way for businesses and individuals to contribute to local schools and teachers. Donna Lawrence explained how Adopt a Grade began five years ago.

The program originated when D. Lawrence noticed how much money teachers put into their classrooms.

“I took my grandson up there and I saw that the teachers asked for optional items. I saw how much teachers buy out of their own pocket and so I started doing a lot for the kindergarten teachers,” D. Lawrence said. “Once he got to the second grade, we decided let’s do it for all of the teachers and so we bought the optional items, paper towels and copy paper and all of that, and gave $100 each to use on whatever they needed in the classroom. We just wanted to take some of the load off of them.”

The need for teachers is evident and encouraged D. Lawrence to continue this practice. Since 2015, the program has reached members of surrounding counties as well.

“There is such a need for the teachers and they don’t make enough anyway, so after that first year we adopted that grade and decided to challenge other businesses and individuals to join us and adopt a grade,” D. Lawrence said. “I’ll have people call me from other counties around here and ask about the program.

D. Lawrence wants to give back to teachers who give back to their students.

“I know some would buy for kids who didn’t have school supplies and spend money out of their own pocket, so if we can help a little bit we will,” D. Lawrence said.

The recent need for cleaning supplies has pushed D. Lawrence to contribute more than usual to the program.

“I gave $1,000 this year because I knew they would need a lot more germ x, Clorox wipes, and I knew we couldn’t deliver them to the school,” D. Lawrence said.

D. Lawrence expressed that her late father-in-law, Douglas Lawrence, would be proud of the growth of the program he helped start. “Chris’ dad would be so happy to see how much it has grown,” D. Lawrence said.

C. Lawrence explained that his father was very committed to the program.

“So far things have been going really good and we’ve had a good response. My dad wanted our kids and their teachers to have everything they needed, and so he donated a lot and we took it over after he passed away,” C. Lawrence. “He kinda got going with it because he wanted to get the teachers what he could as well as when his grandchildren needed things. He’d always ask what they need in the class and so he’s the one that kinda got it started.”

The program has exceeded D. Lawrence’s expectations and has made it easier for businesses of all sizes to become more involved in the community.

“Last year we raised more than any other year. We have raised $28,000 overall since we started it, but last year we raised $9,100,” D. Lawrence said. “McDonald’s adopted the PE and music and art classes one year because they wanted to get involved. They wanted to reach the most people and every student took those classes, so they got involved that way.”

Donating to the program is simple, said D. Lawrence. The money that is donated goes to an instructional fund that teachers can use to buy necessary supplies.

“You can do as much or as little as you can do, but we ask that you do at least $100 per teacher if you adopt a whole grade,” D. Lawrence said.

For more information about Adopt a Grade or to contribute to the program, call 334-222-4925.