Local Spotlight: Crayons to Computers

The school year’s starting, and those school supply lists aren’t going to purchase themselves. However, with recent statistics showing that one in five kids in Greater Cincinnati is living in poverty, many families struggle to buy non-essentials like school supplies. Luckily, there’s Crayons to Computers. 

Cincinnati Parent talked to Crayons to Computers president and CEO Amy Cheney to learn more about this wonderful organization and how the community can support local students and teachers. 

Poverty is a big issue in Greater Cincinnati. How does poverty affect school performance? 

Imagine you are 8 years old. You report to homeroom on your first day of school and see kids opening their new backpacks full of notebooks, pencils, markers and scissors laughing and comparing supplies. You showed up with nothing because your family couldn’t afford school supplies. How would you feel? How would you do your homework? How would you be successful in school? 

Without the basics, kids are not equipped to do their job. Our programs provide much-needed supplies to enable them to be successful in school. 

How does Crayons to Computers work?  

We believe that education is key to breaking the cycle of poverty. Teachers at schools where 60% or more of the student population receive free or reduced-cost lunch are eligible to access our Teacher Free Store or Mobile Outreach Program (MOP). The teachers at qualifying schools can shop at the Teacher Free Store up to 10 times during the school year. Teachers at some of our more distant schools can come to the Free Store. In 2014, Crayons started the MOP to address time and distance barriers; the truck takes a subset of the store’s inventory out to the more distant schools. For the upcoming school year, we expect about 57 schools to receive visits from the Mobile Store. 

What other resources are available to teachers? 

Research shows that teachers spend $500-$1,000 of their own money every year to buy supplies for their classes. With Crayons to Computers, teachers can shop for basic school supplies, incentive items and enhancements for their classroom — all for free. Teachers are very creative and can turn unusual donated items into a project or tool for their students. 

What are some ways to get involved with Crayons to Computers? 

Crayons to Computers is funded through the generosity of the community. The work we do is only possible because of the hundreds of volunteers who give of their time. People and groups can get involved with Crayons in many ways, including: 

  • Donating cash or supplies; 
  • Volunteering on a regular or episodic basis; 
  • Hosting a Push 4 Pencils supply drive; 
  • Knitting hats, scarves or gloves for Crayons’ Keep Our Kids Warm program; 
  • Filling out #MyWishForYou notes of encouragement to the students we serve; 
  • Attending an upcoming Show & Tell Tour  

For more information about Crayons to Computers, visit crayons2computers.org. 

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