What if you showed up every day for school, willing to work hard and learn, but when you got there you had nothing to work with? Imagine first grade without pencils or paper. Imagine not enough textbooks in math class. Not enough microscopes in science. Sadly, that’s the situation for many schools around the nation. Children show up every day eager to learn and ready to work hard but often don’t have the tools to do so.
Which is one reason why ATR’s Patricia Schnieber and Andrea Brenholz were especially excited to volunteer at the Thompson Family Foundation (TFF) Christmas Event benefitting the New Highland Academy and Rise Community schools in Oakland. They joined Golden State Warrior Klay Thompson, his mother Julie and members of his family, and other volunteers and people from the Warriors organization to bring toys, food, and much needed school supplies to students in need.
It was a fantastic day filled with joyous, rambunctious kids excited to receive presents and meet Klay! There were two assemblies to accommodate the 600 children who attend the schools. Andrea and Patricia helped organize the toys and work with each child as they chose one. Andrea commented “The holidays remind us that bringing happiness to a child is a special feeling; one that stays with you forever. I’ll never forget the smiles on their faces as they chose a present! I almost feel selfish – isn’t volunteering supposed to be hard?”
“It was equally gratifying to see how happy the teachers were when we delivered supplies to each classroom.” said Patricia. “Many of them spend their own money when they need things. They were almost as excited as the kids!” TFF also arranged for the Alameda County food bank to be there for families to stock up. It’s critical to support children in multiple ways, ensuring that they arrive to school prepared to learn and that the school is prepared to teach.
Both women said they were grateful to TFF for organizing such a wonderful and much needed event. They explained “The toys are as valuable as the pencils and all children should have both. Thanks for letting us help make that true for them!” ATR volunteers have worked with TFF and their awesome staff before and look forward to supporting their efforts again. Andrea explained, “I love that one of their main goals is about the importance of education. I look for opportunities to support efforts in that area whenever possible.”
A final thought from Andrea and Patricia: Get the same wonderful feeling they did! There are probably schools and children near you that need the same kind of help. Make sure they have the supplies to go along with the desire to learn! Or volunteer or donate to any worthy organization in your community.
You’ll be the one that ends up feeling good!
ATR’s Volunteer-Time-Off (VTO) program allows each internal employee 40 hours or 5 days off to volunteer at a charitable organization of their choice each year. To read more about our program click here!