Local High School Student Collects 28,000+ Pencils to Help Students at Low-Income Schools
Houston Teen Partnered with Teachers Aid Program of the Houston Food Bank
Madisen Beavers, St. Pius X High School senior, along with Teachers Aid Program of the Houston Food Bank, spearheaded drive
“You can’t learn if you don’t have anything to write with,” says 17-year-old Madisen Beavers, who volunteered her time and resources, this past spring.
Beavers’ heart lies in service. She chose to work with the Food Bank’s Teachers Aid program, which provides free school supplies to teachers from low-income schools within the greater Houston area.
After doing a little research, she learned that pencils are by far the most desired item. Teachers can give out as many as 20 pencils a day and their reserves run out quickly.
The price of school essentials such as binders and backpacks can often amount to overwhelming cost for low income families. As a result, many teachers selflessly take money from their own pockets and spend hundreds each year buying these items for their students.
Figuring that it was the end of the year and teachers and students alike would be cleaning out their lockers and desks, Beavers devised the idea of a pencil drive at St. Pius X. Partnering with both the Theology and Math Departments, she was quickly able to get enough backing to host a drive for the entire school.
Beavers was blown away by the sheer number of pencils raised and that students were still donating into summer vacation. “It feels good helping others. To give back to others helps your sense of worth,” she said.
Almost all the pencils have already been distributed to schools throughout the city; however, Beavers isn’t slowing down. She will sit on the Houston Food Bank’s Student Heroes Board for high school volunteers this fall and is looking to expand the pencil drive into a full-blown supply drive. She wants to challenge a competing high school to step up, based around an annual rivalry football game.
Teachers Aid is set up to allow teachers to “shop” for free school supplies on an appointment-only basis. To qualify, teachers must come from schools with 60% of students on free or reduced price lunch, and be participants in the Houston Food Bank’s Backpack Buddy Program.
Beavers says the most important element in service is “finding something that you care about. Once you find your passion, you can go anywhere from there.”
Beavers’ work with Teachers Aid has already resulted in numerous accolades, including the Leather Apron Foundation Scholarship, which covers half of the tuition for her senior year at St. Pius X.
For more information on the Houston Food Bank and the Teachers Aid Program, go to www.houstonfoodbank.org.