As a result of cuts to education funding, many teachers spend their own money to provide basic supplies for classrooms and students. To help offset these costs, each year the Long Beach Jaycee Foundation provides “Adopt a Teacher” (AAT) grants for school supplies or programs to Long Beach-area educators.
Through an online application, teachers are asked to convey a specific need in their classroom, to describe their volunteer and community outreach efforts, and to provide a brief essay related to the last line of the Jaycee Creed: “Service to humanity is the best work of life.”
The Foundation recently announced the recipients of its 2011 Adopt-A-Teacher program grants. The Foundation awarded grants of $250 to 22 deserving teachers whose proposed projects will aid in developing a sense of community and benefit student learning outcomes at the teacher’s school.
Among the 22 $250 AAT grantees, teachers such as Gerianne Smith of Minnie Gant Elementary, Megan Kaplinsky of Stephens Middle School, and Roberta Patterson of Millikan High School are able to stage an original musical play, purchase science laboratory equipment, and hold a “student portfolio workshop” offering guidance in completing college applications, respectively.
Caryn Cobb of Lakewood High School will be able to purchase new hardbound copies of Dickens’s classic Great Expectations to use year after year, and Stacy Collins of Hughes Middle School can now take her students to the Museum of Tolerance. The 12th-grade students of Satinder Hawkins at Millikan High will be able to participate in an International Economic Summit conducted by the U.S. Federal Reserve. The art students of Karena Massengil at Cabrillo High School will be able to create and design projects with the aid of the latest digital imaging technology.
The Foundation also presented a $1,000 Grand Award to Tammy Tokunaga-Huckabee, a teacher with the application that was deemed to have the highest impact to student learning outcomes. The funds will provide hardback publishing books and a CD with fonts and clip art to enable her current and future first-grade classes at Riley Elementary to create “professional-like books of their own, with their original writings.” Her students will walk to local rehabilitation centers, elderly homes, or hospitals where they can read their own stories or books they have studied, and share pictures they have drawn. Tokunaga-Huckabee’s community and volunteer activities include the Special Olympics, the Red Cross, the Children’s Hospital of Orange County, beach cleanups, and assisting with her son’s basketball team. 2011 marks the first year of the Grand Award.
The Foundation’s Adopt-A-Teacher program was established to honor Mary Pat Bamrick, an active Jaycee who served the Long Beach Unified School District as an elementary school teacher. She passed away in 2004 from complications due to cancer. Most of the funding for this program was raised through the Long Beach Street Food Fests, the Foundation’s popular fundraising events that brought gourmet food trucks from around Southern California to Rainbow Lagoon.