As Richland County was preparing to return to the classroom, Brittany Roberts, a second-year South Carolina Law student from Palm Harbor, Florida, started a new initiative to help support local teachers and students.
“Towards the beginning of this pandemic, we watched people across the country gain a better appreciation for our educators. As we are now getting ready to head back to school, I think that we have a very good opportunity to support our teachers and school staff in a unique way,” says Roberts.
So she created a Facebook page where Richland County teachers can make requests called Richland County – Adopt a Teacher. The goal of this group is to provide a space for educators to share their needs, wishlists, and even prayer requests with their local community members. The other group members, whether it be parents, fellow staff members, or citizens just looking to help, would be able to fulfill these requests.
Roberts, who says she chose to attend the University of South Carolina School of Law because of its Children’s Law Concentration, is passionate about improving outcomes for children. She thought that one way she could make an immediate impact was by helping the teachers who educate them.
“My hope was that Richland County would band together and support our teachers to help ensure a happy and healthy environment for our children and educators to return to,” explains Roberts.
After a local television broadcast about this initiative, the Facebook group has had an influx of teachers welcoming their support and members wanting to help.
“I was a little nervous to start this,” she says. “I hoped that our community would be willing to help like I had envisioned, but I was joyful when, ultimately, people weren’t just willing, but eager to donate.”
The Facebook group has teachers from all over Richland County posting links to their wishlists. Community members have the option to ship these items directly to them to fulfill these specific needs, whether that be pencils and notebooks or masks and hand sanitizer. The group will remain up throughout this entire school year, at least.
“With the unprecedented times that we are in now, the needs of our teachers can change almost daily. To account for that, I want to ensure that there is the support group they can turn to during this pandemic,” says Roberts.