Story Submitted by Brooke Elkins

My name is Brooke Elkins. I’m a former educator of Hillsborough County schools in Florida. Even though I have left the classroom I still feel very connected to education and teachers. I have many friends who are educators and I have listened to their concerns as they are heading into the 2020 school year, in the middle of a pandemic. I can’t imagine starting the school year under these stressful conditions and in my book they are heroes for doing so. I started thinking to myself where could I be of help? What could I do to make a difference for them?

And so then I remembered a post on my neighborhood Facebook page, back in May, where our community members adopted High School seniors and showered them with small little items just to show them that someone cared and I thought to myself, why couldn’t we do this for teachers? So I created a page called Adopt a Hillsborough Teacher. This is a page on Facebook where you can see teachers across the county linking their classroom wish list items primarily through Amazon and a community member can adopt a teacher and take an item or two off of her list. If you know a teacher, you know how much teachers actually pour into their classrooms every single year. Money that comes from their own pockets… All the little items that make their classroom go from “standard, to ,special and all the items the kids need to succeed. What makes this year’s teacher supply list different is now they are having to rethink how all of their classroom supplies will need to be used in order to cut down on possible contamination. And many teachers are finding themselves having to purchase items like headsets, for example, so each child has their own personal set to use at the computer, touchless soap dispensers, and containers where each child can store there own individual work, amongst many other things. On top of that is the concern for disinfectant items that are already hard to come by due to the shortage in our local stores. The district has provided but many teachers have concern there may not be enough to last the year.

To date we have over 5,000 members in less than 4 days of the page being created. But we are hoping as this gains community attention, more people will join the page to support the teachers that are already on there and who are joining daily. It doesn’t take much to make a teacher smile. If we are asking our teachers to return back to the classroom in the middle of a pandemic then the very least we can do for them is support them with something they need in order to better serve our students and to keep them safe. Please join our group by clicking here: Adopt a Hillsborough Teacher on Facebook.