R. Grant Graham Elementary Teachers Awarded DonorsChoose.org Grants

Students in the Avondale School District will benefit from two DonorsChoose.org grants that teachers from R. Grant Graham Elementary received this month. Both grants qualified for match finding from the “Target: Kid Ideas are the Best Ideas” initiative that Target Corporation launched this year. The first grant provided funding for the purchase of “Wiggle Seats” and “Bouncy Bands”, two items of adaptive equipment designed to help students stay focused during times when some student may struggle with concentration.

A Wiggle Seat is a special cushion that not only helps increase a student’s ability to concentrate but also requires the student to stabilize and center their body while using it which can improve posture. Bouncy Bands attach to the legs of student chairs and provide a flexible foot rest. The elasticity of the band allows students to gently bounce their feet up and down. The bands are recognized as a way for students to release their extra energy or anxiety during times when they are expected to sit quietly. Nehemiah Sims is a fourth-grader at the school who happily tried out the bouncy bands and the wiggle seat.

R. Grant Graham Elementary student Nehemiah Sims with teacher Mary Huhtasaari

R. Grant Graham Elementary student Nehemiah Sims with teacher Mary Huhtasaari

He shared that he has something similar to the bouncy bands at home and they help him relax when he watches TV or is eating dinner or when someone is talking to him. Nehemiah’s teacher, Mary Huhtasaari has been teaching in the Avondale School District for seventeen years and has seen students struggle with staying focused in the classroom. She believes that the seat and the bands will help those students who are sometimes nervous or anxious; students who have ADHD; and students who just haven’t matured to the point where they can sit and focus for a period of time.

The second grant that the school received was used to purchase basketball equipment to support the District-wide fifth grade basketball league started by R. Grant Graham teacher, Gary Novak. With the funding, Novak purchased basketballs, practice jerseys, jump ropes, spot shots (used to mark the court during practice), and magnet boards (used by coaches to diagram plays) to help the student learn the game while building skills. Receipt of the grant was a boon to the program which operates with volunteers and donations to ensure student participation isn’t cost prohibitive.

About DonorsChoose.org and Target Match Contributions

 DonorsChoose.org was started in 2000 by a teacher with a simple mission: To make it easy for anyone to help a classroom in need, moving us closer to a nation where students in every community have the tools and experiences they need for a great education. In sixteen years the group has driven 2,355,437 supporters from corporations, small businesses, organizations, and ordinary citizens to do something extraordinary by supporting 809,060 projects impacting 20,443,638 students. www.DonorsChoose.org also solicits “match contributions”. Target Corporation generously matched funds for more than 7,000 projects this year, impacting over 760,000 students.


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