Not every child can bring their own pencil to school, or always remembers to, and not every school can supply enough to fulfill this need. That is also the case for Wheat Middle School in Cleburne, Texas, where young Paige Cook goes to class. According to her teachers, Paige, 14 years old, is known as the Mary Poppins of school supplies.
She is known this way for one simple reason, she decided she was going to help fill a need she saw in her community of classmates. So she spends some of her free time collecting donations of school supplies, such as pencils, and brings them to school in her school bag (instead of a carpet bag) which she happily offers up to any other child who might be lacking for the day.
It started with an effort to collect 3,000 pencils and then donate them to teachers last year. Then she set her sights even higher, she wanted 7 pencils for every student in the school, some 43,000 pencils later and she has gained every growing attention for her efforts. This spring, Paige was named a Distinguished Finalist in Texas, in the 2019 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, recognizing youth volunteers from across the state.
While her family does spend some of their own money on the project it isn’t all self-funded. Through the Wheat Middle School Pencil Pals page on Facebook, Paige promotes her project and receives donations of school supplies from all over the country. For Paige, it was all fairly simple: “We need pencils to write, and this can help the people who can’t afford the school supplies,” Paige explains. “My teachers taught me to believe in myself and be who I want to be,” she says. Paige is now planning to set up a “Kindness Closet” at her school, where students and teachers can choose from a range of supplies they may need. Her pencil program is continuing as well.
You can read more about Paige and her program and watch the video on it in your Good News Story of the Day here. There are also programs such as this available for impoverished people worldwide and more locally those who need a little help.
Story and Image from CBS DFW.