SeaTac elementary school teachers surprised with school supplies

Story by Somer Hanson / Photos by Chris Huber

In the course of Pam Damron's 10-year teaching career at Bow Lake Elementary School in SeaTac, Washington, she's become familiar with the supplies available to teachers serving in low-income communities through World Vision's U.S. Programs.

Special education teacher Taylor Gasser shows some of the bounty each teacher received.


With 85 percent of Bow Lake students qualifying for the free or reduced lunch program, Pam is a frequent shopper at the Teacher Resource Center at World Vision’s warehouse in Fife. She’s grateful to be able to stock up on free supplies provided by generous corporate donors for her classroom and for students whose families are unable to afford them.

This way, "kids don't have to worry about pencils or crayons," Pam says.

Pam had joined paraeducator Linda Elmore last year on a visit to the TRC before the start of school. With another school year approaching, Pam was about to call Linda to ask why they hadn’t yet made a trip back to Fife. She soon found out.

Unbeknownst to the school's 34 classroom teachers, Linda had spent a summer afternoon at the warehouse, picking out school and classroom supplies for each teacher and their students. But she didn't want to just give them the supplies, she wanted to surprise them with the bounty.

All 34 classroom teachers were surprised with supplies distributed from World Vision's warehouse in Fife.

"I know everyone needs to feel supported," Linda says. "They need to feel welcomed to the school."

While teachers and support staff were on campus for all-staff training on Aug. 25, Linda, along with parents and Parent Teacher Organization volunteers, orchestrated a memorable surprise in the school’s courtyard.

Kevin Baza, World Vision's Fife site manager, delivered the four pallets of product that Linda had selected, including Yoobi school supply kits for all of the students, teacher tote bags full of paper, notebooks, binders, and other school supplies, and classroom supplies like tissues and coffee.

"This is huge for our teachers so they don't have to purchase with their own money," Linda says. "I constantly hear from these teachers, 'I spent $500, I had to buy notebooks, I had to buy tissue.' Four teachers have come up and said 'Thank goodness there's tissue!'"

School supplies filled the arms of special education teacher Taylor Gasser, who was overwhelmed with appreciation.

"It's great to start the year so positively," she says.

In 2015, World Vision's Teacher Resource Centers across the nation distributed more than $7 million in new school supplies to 10,742 teachers in the U.S. More than 10,000 teachers visited a World Vision TRC in under-resourced communities.

You can be part of this encouraging movement with your gift today to help provide school supplies to children in need.