Good Morning All! We made it safely and, surprisingly, on time to Denver last night and are dealing with the super fun time changes and super dry (for my humidity acclimated skin) air. Thank you to all of you for your well wishes yesterday 🙂 But, enough about me. This one is for the kids! There are many non-profit and privately funded educational programs on island that we regularly promote here. But, RARELY is there an opportunity to support the educations of the kids in public school, specifically on St. John. Well, if you are a passionate supporter of education AND Love City, here is your opportunity to give directly to the teachers at Julius E. Sprauve School (JESS) in order to create a more functional and creative space for our kiddos to learn and grow!
Hurricane Irma hit St. John five years ago this week. And, among many devastations on St. John, our only public education facility was partially damaged. Half of the K-8 school in Cruz Bay was destroyed to the point of condemnation. And, when 125 students returned to school a few months later, they were on split shift schedules (half days) in order to accommodate to the same number of students with half the space. In September of 2018, our youngsters returned to full time school days in modular units on the baseball field of the existing school grounds.
But, now, they were without a large school yard to run and play in with only a small playground tucked between the school and the fire station. Oh, and to top it off, the kids and teachers on St. John were not immune to the pandemic that the rest of the world just went through. Back to school, back to remote learning, back to in person learning, etc. Not to mention the emotional strife that develops from going through two CAT 5 hurricanes AND a global pandemic. All while in the early years of their early childhood education. These kids have been through A LOT. And so have their educators.
How many of you out there are on teacher’s salaries? Ok…Now, how many of you out there are on teachers’ salaries in a place where one bag of groceries costs between $70-$100 and the average cost of rent is generally well over $1300/month? Now, take those figures and combine them with the fact that there is no convenience of WalMart…no Michaels, no Target, no children’s bookstore…to source the materials that you need to make your classroom a beautiful and safe place for kids, who are already in a transitional learning space, to create and grow their knowledge of themselves and the world around them. ROUGH, right?
Well, a Love City community member and advocate for education, Julie King (stjohnjulie), is in her seventh year of raising funds for the teachers of St. John to build their classrooms into something great! In 2016, she gathered funding to provide each of the classrooms with a printer and her garnering of community support for the education of JESS students has grown from there. This year, initial fundraising via Paypal in order to supply the teachers with classroom essentials and working with the teachers to create personalized Amazon wish lists for growing the JESS learning spaces has been the focus as Julie continues to support our local educators in a unique and genius way. And, inadvertently, she is supporting a better education for the kids of St. John.
Still reading? OK. There are several ways that you can support this mission in order to help get these teachers what they need in order for them to give our kids what they need!
First, you can simply donate a few dollars (no donation is too small!) to Julie’s Paypal ([email protected]) or Venmo so that she can continue to support the teachers’ specific classroom needs as they arise.
OR, you can go to the Amazon wish list to order the specifically requested items for each teacher. This year, JESS has established a culinary program which will help train kids with some real world skills and give them some essential day-t0-day talents that they can take home with them. so, you will see some kitchen items on this list for that program.
When you purchase an item, it will be shipped direct to St. John Julie and hand delivered to the local educator who created the list. You can donate anonymously or send a little note of support and positivity to make them smile 🙂 Julie ensured that those notes will absolutely be delivered to the teachers!
The Amazon wish list is created by me but from the teachers direct wish lists. I noted which class they are for. And the items get shipped to me and I distribute. The logistics of all this are a big task! So I take that on to make it easier. All special messages WILL Make it to the teachers 🙂MORE than 100% of the money donated to the cause goes directly to benefit the teachers and kids at JESS. I use my personal funds to fill in any gaps. – StJohnJulie
I hope that all of you can find a little time in your day today or at some point this week to donate a few dollars or purchase an item from the wishlist in support of Julie’s noble efforts, the educators on St. John and, most importantly, the kiddos as they transition back into another school year! Have a great Tuesday everyone!
Featured Image: Sing St. John