That is what Dayton’s Crayons to Classrooms (DC2C) believes helps disadvantaged students to succeed! Basic school supplies are a luxury for thousands of students in our community. In light of the back to school season, I met with Steve Rubenstein, Executive Director, to learn more about this organization and what they are doing to better our community.
DC2C is a free school supply retail store that serves teachers and students in 88 Dayton area schools where more than 70% of the students live at or below the poverty line. The organization opened their doors to teachers from selected schools in January, 2009, but not before an abundance of work and research was completed to ensure the success of the organization.
Research began in 2006 when a group of Dayton businesses and nonprofit organizations began learning about the 38 resource centers across the U.S. that support student learning by collecting surplus, close out, and other useful materials for distribution to classroom teachers in schools serving lower-income families. “If parents are struggling to provide for their children, they clearly have difficulty buying notebooks, pens, and crayons – the items all kids expect to have for school,” said Steve Rubenstein, Executive Director. These civic leaders saw the need for such an organization in the Dayton area and began planning. By 2007, an Executive Director had been hired and the organization had committed financial support from the Mathile Family Foundation and the Dayton Foundation. Under a collaborative effort with Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley (GESMV), DC2C was given warehouse, retail, and office space at their facility located at 1511 Kuntz Rd. in Dayton. The partnership with GESMV provides the organization with over 12,000 sq. ft. of warehouse storage, retail store space, office space, use of GESMV telephone system and technology network, and access to a fleet of trucks for pick-up services.
Currently DC2C serves 34 area schools that are ranked based on need, which is up from 23 schools served in 2009. The retail store is open on Monday, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. for teachers from approved schools to shop. The collaborative effort with Goodwill extends even further with the DC2C Classroom Solutions program, which aims to provide teachers with useful, hands-on products. Community volunteers and/or individuals in the GESMV’s Work Experience Program create shaped pieces for student learning tools using die-cut machines. Paper, cardboard, felt, and plastic can be transformed into many shapes and sizes for classroom purposes including alphabet letters, numerals, and geometric forms.
You can be a local hero to a child…DC2C is doing big things for our community with their small staff of 4! They could really use our help to spread their mission and help them with day to day operations! DC2C seeks friendly, compassionate people to help out in the retail store from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays assisting teachers with shopping and check out. Have a small group that would like to give back in a big way? Groups of 4 to 6 people are needed to process donations and re-stock the shelves of the store.
Cash and In-kind donations make it possible for DC2C to keep the shelves of the teacher free store stocked for our local classrooms in need. Local businesses, organizations, and community groups can host a school supply drive for basic supplies. To learn more about donating and ways to get involved, please visit www.dc2c.org.
This article is the first in a series that will be compiled by DMM.com contributor Jennifer Dean. If you’d like to suggest a local nonprofit for her to write about, just comment below!