Pencils for Poverty / The Paperclip Project

Pencils for Poverty’s Final Reflection

Fifteen weeks ago we were told to make a long lasting sustainable good in the world.  We thought, “What do we have that’s so normal that helps us that some people might not be able to afford?”  We thought about the paperclip we were given, and it came down to school supplies.  Our group joined together to create Pencils For Poverty.  Pencils For Poverty’s vision is that there will be no classrooms in the Charlotte community that do not have sufficient school supplies for effective learning every day.  Pencils for Poverty exists to fulfill this vision and to provide school supplies to impoverished children in the Charlotte community.  Since the beginning of the semester, we have been committed to upholding this mission.  We have been committed by consistently trading with others who are interested in being involved with our mission.  We have been raising awareness that many children growing up in poverty don’t have the money to pay for necessary school supplies.

This problem is negatively affecting students’ opportunities to learn and participate in class.  This problem is overlooked by many, so our group has taken on the challenge of raising awareness of the issue.  We have also decided to donate the goods we trade for with Classroom Central, who then provides these children with our goods.  We are striving to make a difference in the lives of these young children.  Also, our secondary mission is to spread the word that kids don’t have sufficient school supplies which hinders their learning ability.  These families do not have the financial means to support buying school supplies for their kids.  A kid that is at school unprepared with supplies is truly a kid not at school at all.

By starting with a paperclip, we had no start-up funds and our cost to participate in this project was around a dollar fifty.  This shows to people that all it takes is something small, like a paperclip, and dedication to achieve a goal of improving kid’s lives.  That was one of the main ideas that we tried to spread while trading.  By trading with a wide variety of people, we were able to spread this idea to teachers at PD, students at PD, and people outside of the PDS community.  We mainly traded with teachers due to the fact that they have an abundance of supplies laying around from previous years.  We traded with past teachers from lower school who were more than happy to support our cause.  We traded a few times with fellow classmates for some essential supplies.  The next step we are taking is spreading the story of our group.  Our story.

Pencils for PovertyThe road to the end product of an abundance of school supplies was not always as easy as we thought in the beginning.  There were weeks where we lacked motivation and fell short on getting trades.  There was tension in the group when we were unable to contact people and make trades.  However, we always bounced back and made a crucial trade.  The turning point in this process for us was when we traded with a teacher for nearly five hundred dollars in school supplies.  At that point we really felt like we could actually make a difference.  Then we started to work very well together and get more and more trades and contacts.

After all of the long weeks, we ended up donating all of our items to two places:  Classroom Central and Freedom School. Before donating the items, we ended up with a total inventory worth $695.48.  The average cost for school supplies for a household is $688.  We achieved this goal of paying for one household’s expenses in regards for school supplies.  By doing this, we enable those kids to go to school and learn, and we save that family some money to spend on other important things such as food and clothing.  We took that worry of how they were going to afford supplies for their kids to be prepared at school. Achieving this goal makes all of the struggle well worth it.  Through all of the trading, we truly did make a long lasting sustainable good for others.


To view P4P’s mid-semester advertisement, click here.


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