The 2022-23 school year is officially underway and the back-to-school shopping season is behind us, but students in all grade levels will continue to need basic supplies like pencils, paper and notebooks in the months to come. Unfortunately, many parents can’t afford these items and students often go without. Their teachers routinely step in to help: According to a recent U.S. Department of Education survey, more than 90 percent of teachers reported spending their own money on classroom supplies without reimbursement.
That’s why Realtors Association of Maui (RAM) members continue to collect school supplies and other items for Maui County schools through the RAM Community Foundation’s Wishing Well… for Maui Students program.
Since its inception in 2007, the Wishing Well program has donated goods, supplies and services to public schools countywide. Run by volunteer RAM members and fueled by the generosity of community donors, the program covers every public school on Maui, Molokai and Lanai, along with Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Centers, a nonprofit that shelters students in different grade levels at its Wailuku and Lahaina facilities. Throughout the year, volunteer coordinators collect and distribute “wish list” items—pencils, paper clips, rubber slippers and everything in between—to schools.
For the second year in a row, the Realtors of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Advantage Realty Valley Isle stepped up to help local students through the Wishing Well program. Last summer, the agents collected and donated nearly 10,000 No. 2, mechanical and colored pencils to the program. This year, they collected more than 500 composition and spiral notebooks and several other school supplies during the month of July.
“It was so heartening to have one of our own real estate companies step up once again to help fulfill a specific need, which made a big difference in the educational lives of our public school teachers and students,” said Sarah Sorenson of Whale’s Tail Realty, who founded the Wishing Well program 15 years ago. “Speaking on behalf of our Wishing Well coordinators, we know their efforts have made such a difference… every person in their office who donated is an angel for helping make the school year a little bit easier for teachers and students.”
You can help the Wishing Well program continue to make a difference for students, teachers, and parents during the 2022-23 academic year. Whether it’s cash, school supplies or office equipment, every little bit helps. Most-wished-for items include composition and spiral notebooks, sheet protectors, graph paper, colored pencils, dry erase pens, binders, paper clips, handheld calculators, electric pencil sharpeners, staplers, and plastic baggies of all sizes. Sorenson says she also receives requests for children’s books for readers at any level, which are particularly useful for special education, preschool and English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers.
And the No. 1 most-needed item? Rubber slippers, particularly sizes 5-14, Sorenson said. Throughout the school year, students often arrive on campus wearing broken slippers—or none at all. Others may lose or break theirs during the day and have no replacement. During the month of May alone, the Wishing Well program delivered more than 200 pairs of rubber slippers to local schools.
Other items like office chairs, area rugs, flat-screen TVs, folding chairs, file cabinets, bookcases and storage units are also frequently requested, so if you need to offload any gently used office supplies or furniture, call (808) 283-3969 to schedule a pickup service.
To learn more about the Wishing Well program, visit www.ILoveMauiSchools.com or call Sorenson at (808) 283-3969. If you’re a Maui County public school teacher with a wish list for your classroom, contact Sorenson at (808) 283-3969.
The Maui News – August 12, 2022