FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – Teachers got a big boost Tuesday afternoon from a Fort Wayne community who wanted to make sure local educators have the supplies they need for their students to succeed.
Holland Elementary School teachers gathered for a special lunch Tuesday afternoon as they prepare for a stressful time of year. The school year is just one day away and some of them still need supplies.
However, the group who’s giving back likely won’t be in a classroom anytime soon. In fact, for Helen Pyles, her last school bell rang decades ago.
“If I hadn’t had a teacher who thought me how to read, life would not be as interesting as it is now,” Pyles said.
Pyles is a resident at Towne House Retirement Community. Not only does she live there, but she’s also active in giving back to a group that easily gets overlooked.
“The teachers are so grateful and that’s why when we set up the luncheon,” Pyles said. “The residents are told you can’t sit four to a table, you have to mingle.”
It’s no secret that teachers are unsung heroes, but they get little appreciation. What you might not realize is that many teachers have to pay for school supplies out of their own pocket. The National Education Association estimates that teachers spend between $400 and $500 out of pocket on school supplies for students.
“When our residents give from their hearts what they want or what they can, it creates a spirit of joy that is contagious and you can tell by what’s going on here,” Towne House Retirement Community Chaplin Douglas Vogel said.
That’s why for eight years now, the retirement community has help out. Tuesday, 35 teachers were recognized by 80 retirees. Each teacher received a gift card worth $333. Towne House spent more than $11,000 making sure these teachers can give back to the students.
“They’ve given to us and we want to follow their example and pay it forward and give to our students with the resources they provided for us,” Teacher Scott Mills said. “So it’s a wonderful relationship and we’re very thankful.”
As for Helen, she’s happy to help by offering wisdom so that students have the best school year yet.
“Be strong, be thankful, be safe,” Pyles said.