Over Spring Break, members of the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities took advantage of the downtime and spent a morning volunteering with A Gift For Teaching. Many people don’t realize, but oftentimes teachers spend $500-$1,000 of their own money purchasing items for their classrooms and students. AGFT tries to defray that cost and make sure that every child has access to the same educational materials. Teachers who qualify from Orange, Seminole, or Osceola County can shop at AGFT’s Free Stores. These beautifully arranged stores contain items such as books, notebooks, craft supplies and backpacks.

On, March 8, the OSRR team arrived at the Orlando branch ready to assist and were warmly welcomed by the AGFT staff. After a tour of the facilities, the group was tasked with sorting through science kits that had been donated by Houghton Mifflin. By the end of the morning the eight volunteers had sorted through three different pallets, totaling $60,000 worth of materials. Valerie Mardle, senior manager, along with the rest of the AGFT staff personally thanked the group for their efforts, stressing the importance of the volunteers’ work. “Just yesterday, 70 teachers shopped at our Free Store and on average each teacher leaves with about $500 worth of supplies,” shared Mardle.

The experience not only positively impacted AGFT but the members of OSRR as well. Ryan Iocco, graduate assistant and Educational Leadership–Student Personnel master’s student said of the experience: “Volunteering provided us the opportunity to help out with a great cause. It allowed us to bond as an office and was a positive experience for everyone involved.”

The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities is in the Division of Student Development and Enrollment Services.