Meet Christina, one of our amazing partner teachers in San Jose who has been working with Family Giving Tree for 15 years!  "The backpacks get lined up in my classroom and the students get to “shop” and choose their own. They leave so excited and happy. It prepares them for the year and it gives confidence they need to be successful."

 What do backpacks/School Success Kits mean for your students?

The majority of our families are low-income. The parents say ‘Thank you. I wasn’t going to have enough money to cover rent. Funds are very limited.’ The backpacks get lined up in my classroom and the students get to “shop” and choose their own. They leave so excited and happy. It prepares them for the year and it gives confidence they need to be successful."

What specific issues have you seen with students during the Pandemic?

"A lot of families have difficult access to technology. We were able to distribute Chromebooks. I teach kindergarten and I see a lack of home structure as multiple family members work multiple jobs. Students miss interacting with their peers and teachers where there is more structure and more ready access to supplies."

As things open up, what hopes do you have for your students?

"Orchard won’t open up until next year. We are doing small intervention groups limited to five children each where each teacher chooses the students who need the most help. They will get to be on campus one day a week for 1-2 hours. This should help as parents worry about students falling behind."

What will be some of the new challenges?

"Every student will have their own bin of supplies only they can touch and individual boxes of books. Being able to supply that for 23 students is a challenge. The $400 stipend is for the year so when that runs out it will come out of my pocket. Another challenge will be how to maintain the cleanliness of the bathrooms and keeping students in their own pods."

 

Anything else you’d like to add?

"The gifts [last year] were on target! I love how Family Giving Tree perfectly matched the gifts. The time and dedication show they want the child to know they matter. During the difficult times, Family Giving Tree was there for our students. The kids were so excited and the parents were humble; many saying they were afraid they couldn’t provide gifts."