Banging on desks to keep time might not sound like an ideal way to teach music class, but for some time, that’s all that music teacher Cherrelle Blevins had to work with at Bronzeville Lighthouse Elementary Charter School in Chicago.
Of course, that’s before Spark Energy saw her request for musical instruments on iloveschools.com, a nonprofit organization that connects teachers in need of supplies with generous donors that step in where school budgets fall short.
Spark Energy donated more than 300 musical instruments to Bronzeville’s music program.
"It is all very new and exciting," Blevins said. "It is going to mean that my students have more opportunities to express themselves, to learn new instruments, new songs, and just to engage in learning."
The students were excited, too.
"These instruments mean a lot to me," said student Kayla Johnson. "They mean that I can have more experience in music."
"Music helps me feel happy and to be able to express myself," said student Tyler Tolbert.
But Bronzeville Elementary wasn’t the only school to benefit from Spark Energy’s commitment to children’s education.
Athletic teacher Garrett Ryan got a big surprise when Spark Energy showed up at Woodland Elementary School with a gift of hula hoops, footballs, dodgeballs, cones and other gym equipment.
The gift was especially appreciated by Ryan, who is dealing with growing enrollments and shrinking budgets.
“It can be expensive,” said Ryan, who, like many teachers, has had to spend some of his own money to make sure his students are properly supplied, “This has made my weekend.”
Spark Energy also went beyond individual schools, donating 1,000 backpacks and other key school supplies to Stuff the Bus, a United Way program that helps make sure underprivileged children have the school supplies they need.
"Energy Company Gives Joliet School New Athletic Equipment" - Joliet Herald-News, September 25, 2011.
"Company Surprises PE Teacher with Equipment" - Joliet Public Schools press release, September 26, 2011.
"Donation is Music to the Ears of Chicago Teacher" - WLS, September 13, 2011.