All around Kern County, schools and teachers are overwhelmed by the large amount of educational materials that have been labeled as “discard”. As schools and districts adopt new curriculums, old curricular materials are no longer used and often collect dust in teachers’ cabinets, school storerooms and district warehouses.
At Evelyn’s Initiative, we intend to be a free resource to schools, teachers and districts in Kern County by collecting discard educational materials and making them useful once again. We organize the materials and donate them to several organizations within the United States that support schools, libraries and orphanages in disadvantaged countries around the world. Donations to our organization help us fund all costs of pickup and shipment.
Our goal is that usable educational material will not go to waste, but instead help to further education around the world.
In the fall of 2016, I began helping my sister organize her classroom. She was a new teacher and had inherited a classroom that was filled with “discard” educational material. After inquiring with school administration about what would happen to these books and supplies, I discovered that many schools were overflowing with discard materials that could not be sold or repurposed and that they ultimately ended up in a recycle bin.
That’s when the idea for Evelyn’s Initiative was created. I began researching organizations that accepted used educational materials and supplies as donations in the United States and I also investigated the cost to ship them. Through the United States Postal Service, I learned about a service they provide called “Media Mail” that ships educational materials at a discounted rate. Our organization can ship a large box of books for approximately $20 per box.
I am passionate about this cause: taking educational material that could be destined for the trash bin and repurposing it to help schools in need around the world.
Evelyn’s Initiative is named after my grandmother, Evelyn. Evelyn was born in 1911 and was one of few women in her generation to graduate from high school and continue on to earn a college degree. After earning her degree, she hoped to be a teacher, but during the Great Depression only one member of each household was permitted to hold employment. During the Depression, she became a very resourceful and frugal woman, saving and repurposing items to be used again and again. As a child, I remember watching her take the wax paper from used cereal boxes, cutting it into sheets to be stored and used again. After the Depression, she became a teacher in Bakersfield, CA and taught children for over 20 years. She was a smart, confident woman who valued education and frugality and I greatly admired and respected her. She passed away in 2009 and when my daughter was born in 2013, I named her Evelyn.