Due to the recent budget cuts, college students have lost a handful of scholarships the state had given them upon graduating high school.
But what some people forgot about was these budget cuts have also affected other public K-12 schools as well.
Tired of complaining about Michigan’s economic state of disaster, three Eastern Michigan University students and one graduate decided to come together and do something about other schools in need.
Pennies for Pencils is a non-profit organization that is helping schools around Michigan that are in need of supplies they cannot afford because of the recent budget cuts.
“We raise money through different fundraising events once we receive applications from different schools,” founding member Cory Beadle said.
Beadle, an EMU alum who graduated in 2008, teamed up with long time friends, Emilie Hannon, Anthony DeNardis and Leslie Hillebrand, to put together this organization they feel will help schools tremendously once they set up a strong financial ground.
“Once we get a definite list [of supplies] from schools, we purchase them and try to make relationships with the distributors of products so we can get them at a discounted price from companies,” Beadle said.
To begin raising funds, Pencils for Pennies contacted Domino’s Pizza on Washtenaw and Tower Inn on Cross to sell paper hearts for a dollar where each contributor can put his or her name on them. Managers of both restaurants will put them on display on the walls of their businesses.
“We’ve collected about 45 so far,” Natalie Savvides, manager at Tower Inn, said. “We are huge supporters of the public school system, and I think at this point they need to get all the help they can get it.”
In addition to going off campus to find support of their organization, Beadle also welcomes help from on-campus organizations.
As members of Delta Tau Delta, Beadle and DeNardis are looking to put together activities in order to gain attention to their organization and awareness about the problems schools around Michigan are facing.
“We’ve been talking with Delta Tau Delta and Sigma Sigma Sigma with putting on events for us and setting up a 5K run,” Beadle said. “Soon we will try to branch out to other fraternity and sororities and hopefully even reach out outside of the Greek life and touch some other organization on Eastern’s campus.”
“One [school] in Hamtramck and two in Detroit are interested,” Beadle said. “Right now we haven’t promoted too much in individual schools, but once we start getting more funds into our account, we will focus more on the end of promoting to schools rather than getting our funds up because we are still new.”
Students who would like to help with their current fundraising efforts can visit either Tower Inn or Domino’s and buy a paper heart for one dollar. Schools who would like to sign up for their program can fill out an application on their website, penniesforpencils.org.
“I think that we need to come together as a university and a community to actually make a difference to show the rest of Michigan EMU is a school [that] believes teaching should come first,” Hannon said.