EL PASO CO. — A community-wide effort is underway to help local school teachers get supplies they need for the classroom. It's called "Clear the List," and it's an initiative led by a local business owner who wants to help educators in the classroom.
Meagan Thomas, an online influencer and the owner of Springs Native, is spearheading the effort. Several weeks ago, she put the word out to local teachers, and said if they need supplies for the classroom, to contact her.
In a statement to News5, Thomas said "I started the effort a couple years ago after seeing different influencers posting teacher lists. My older sister is a teacher, so it's something that's near and dear to my heart. I think teachers work extremely hard and are under-appreciated."
Thomas said 25 teachers responded with their supplies list after she put the word out, and nearly ten businesses wanted to help out and sponsor a teacher. Laura Anderson, a 4th grade teacher at D49's Meridian Ranch Elementary was one of the teachers who reached out.
"I enjoy all the good she (Meagan) has to share about Colorado Springs and so when she put forth this initiative, I decided to participate," said Anderson. "My list is pretty much cleared. On my list were hands-on learning toys that would go along with some STEM ideas and some new readers for small group and literature circles. These are just some extras, above and beyond, to be able to try some new things in the classroom. Those types of things just build you right up and you're ready to go and give it all to these kids."
Ivywild School, a business in Colorado Springs, was one of the businesses which decided to help. So far, they've sponsored seven teachers.
"It just felt like the perfect opportunity to help some local teachers, since we are in an old school and we have a heritage of supporting teachers in this building," said Sarah Mishler, the chief strategy officer for Blue Star Group, which oversees Ivywild School.
In a year that's been challenging for all, Mishler says this is a way of supporting local educators.
"I think teachers really are the bedrock. We obviously know how difficult this year was, and I can't even imagine how difficult it was for teachers. If we can do just this little bit to reach out to them,
and help support them, it feels good for us to share the love," said Mishler.
"This effort just shows how much are kids are cared by from our community," Anderson added.
During a recent weekend at Ivywild School, owners and staff decided to donate 5% of their sales to the effort. So far, they've bought about $3,000 in school supplies to local teachers.
Some of the items requested are small items like markers and pens to larger items like furniture and computers. All of the teacher's lists are different, depending on what grade and subject they teach.
Currently, there are still ten teachers in El Paso County that need your help. If you'd like to help a teacher out, or are a business or person wanting to help, you'll be connected with the help of Thomas.
Real estate agents, restaurants and food trucks have supported the effort. Thomas says she'll stop accepting teacher lists on August 25, and stop matching businesses with teachers after the Labor Day Weekend.
You can find more information here.