To say that the summer is a busy time for Schoolhouse Supplies is a huge understatement, but now that the busy summer activities are wrapped up, so has my summer internship. I don’t exactly remember what my expectations were when I walked in but it certainly was nothing close to the rewarding experience that I am walking away with.
What stands out most to me about Schoolhouse Supplies is its ability to engage and unite our community. The Tools for Schools program is proof that when businesses and community members come together to solve a problem, great change can happen.
One of my favorite moments from my internship was the competitiveness of Pack-a-Palooza. As I walked around taking pictures and videos of teams packing, I couldn’t help but crack up from all the feisty and motivating comments I heard, for example, “Pack faster! We can’t lose to team ‘X’, that would be downright embarrassing!” Packing backpacks may seem like a boring task but not at Pack-a-Palooza because all the cheering and hollering is contagious and even though it is easy to get caught up in, no one ever lost sight of who the real winners are: the students!
The most rewarding part of my time at Schoolhouse Supplies was seeing students holding tightly onto their new backpacks full of supplies. I was lucky to be able to attend a handful of backpack giveaways to take pictures and the moments that I captured gave me chills. The giveaways were an amazing opportunity for me to meet some students and hear about their aspirations. I know it is equally rewarding for our partners to physically hand children the backpacks that they generously contributed and know where their support is going.
It is bittersweet returning to college in Seattle but I am very thankful for the meaningful and enriching experience I have received through my internship. Though I am sad to no longer be Pencil Pete’s spokeswoman on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, I can’t wait to see what else Schoolhouse Supplies will accomplish for students and teachers!
Here are some of our staff members’ highlights from the summer!
Jen, Executive Director: So many favorite moments for me, but one that stands out for me is always the “quiet hush” before the first morning of packing. Watching the SHS team move around with such precision, grace, and and attention to detail to prepare for our first day of packing teams, its like a silent symphony of supplies preparing for the biggest performance of their lives. Within moments the calmness turns into complete chaos…and the magic begins!
Caitlin, Community Engagement Manager: My favorite Pack-a-Palooza moment was getting everyone riled up with a blow horn and creating the build up to: “3! 2! 1! Pack!” While I personally enjoy standing on a bench with a blow horn, the best part is jumping down right afterwards and seeing all the teams concentrating really hard on packing those backpacks for students in need. I look at the focused and determined faces of the packing teams with supplies in hand, and think how every one of them is helping a student have that same face of focus and determination while armed with the same exact supplies.
Lisa, Development Director: One of my favorite moments was being in the school auditorium and seeing our sponsor teams so anxious to get going that they could barely contain themselves long enough to listen to the presentation. Then walking by their tables and eavesdropping on their conversations about strategy and whether they should rearrange the erasers and glue sticks so they can shave a couple seconds off their time.
Cheryl, Communications Manager: At the backpack giveaway at Jason Lee, eighth graders greeted us at the library with a cheer to show their appreciation! “1, 2, 3, 4! Backpacks, pencils, books, and more! 5, 6, 7, 8! Portland Timbers sure are great!”