Several members of the Anne Arundel County Chapter of the NAACP helped teachers at Wiley H. Bates Middle School start the new semester with much needed supplies. Led by chapter president, Jacqueline Allsup, the NAACP presented teachers at the school with specially made baskets that contained personalized note cards.
“It was brought to our attention that it is common practice for our local teachers to purchase bottles of hand sanitizer, resealable bags, and boxes of tissues for their classrooms,” Allsup said. “Although we are not able to provide teachers with supplies for the entire school year, we wanted to show our support,” she said.
On Aug. 22, 2019, the first day teachers returned to school, the NAACP welcomed them back with what Allsup said were tokens of appreciation. “Each teacher received a reusable basket containing a bottle of hand sanitizer, resealable bags and a box of tissues with a hand written note from our chapter members containing words of appreciation and encouragement,” Allsup said.
“This is the first time we have done this,” she said.
The idea came about just prior to the storied civil rights organization receiving an invitation to participate in the Eastport Community Backpack Fest.
Each year, three United Methodist churches in Eastport – John Wesley, Mt. Zion, and Elkton United Methodist Church – collaborate to host the festival. The event featured a free backpack containing elementary school supplies. It also included food and activities for children. Those activities included a moon bounce, and face painting.
The local fire and police departments, and others joined in to help create the family festival that focuses on everyone being well-prepared for the new school year. “As an organization committed to ensuring the health and well-being of all persons, we gladly accepted the invitation and sent volunteers to support the event,” Allsup said.
“Our hope is that each teacher would refer to their card throughout the school year as a reminder that we support them,” she said.
“We want them to know that we recognize their sacrifices, we understand the importance of their job, and that we want them to be successful,” Allsup said.
The NAACP volunteers work diligently to ensure all students, particularly disadvantaged and students of color, have access to great teaching, equitable resources and a challenging curriculum, Allsup said. The NAACP’s ultimate goal is that every student of color receives a quality public education that prepares them to be a contributing member of our democracy, she said. Providing teachers with needed supplies supports the NAACP mission, Allsup said.
“It was an awesome experience to say the least. The principal, the vice principals, and several of the teachers expressed their gratitude. Knowing that the community supports them is huge. The teachers said it is the little things that means so much and we wanted to make them aware that this organization cares about our teachers and we support them as they nurture, educate, and support our future leaders,” Allsup said.