The Grand Opening of The Exchangeree, was more than a celebration. It was a space where community gathered to share in conversation, connect with new and old friends, and experience first-hand, the new collaborative resource center provided for Baltimore County educators to access school supplies, learning materials, utilize the space for meetings and to expand the dialogue of education with community partners.
The common theme throughout the evening was obvious; A caring community supports our educators. Through the challenges of bitter cold weather, postponement, and rescheduling of the event, community partners from near and far hurdled the obstacles and attended the opening, to primarily show their support for the school supply resource gap which is shared across the country. Many students’ families cannot afford to purchase school supplies year round, so it is most often that teachers will spend their own money to provide. The cost can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars per year. The community understands these challenges and have expressed the desire to contribute.
Also in attendance were BCPS educators, including Dr. Racquel Jones, Community Superintendent West Zone, who brought words of welcome and gratitude on behalf of Interim Superintendent, Ms. Verletta White and Ms. Christina Byers, Community Superintendent Central Zone. Teachers and principals had the opportunity to share their personal experiences with the community, defining areas of opportunity, and making direct connections with those who wish to support this initiative. Through The Exchangeree the community now has a new way for individuals to give and educators to receive.
Everyone in attendance found purpose in the discussions, identifying in their own unique way, how they can contribute. As defined by the foundation’s Executive Director of The Education Foundation of BCPS, Inc., Deborah Phelps, “Everyone has an opportunity to give. Whether it is through their time, talent or treasure they can participate. No matter how big or how small their contribution is, the impact has a positive effect on the BCPS community.”
We thank all those who attended and look forward to meeting new friends and faces as upcoming events will be announced and updated volunteer dates will be posted on our web site. Our first shopping date for teachers is on Wednesday, February 13, 2019. Online registration through Eventbrite will be launched on Monday, February 4, 2019. Teachers, please visit our website to review the registration process.
We also thank the long list of community partners who have made the opening of The Exchangeree possible through monetary and in-kind donations. As the list of our Honor Society grows, we look forward to sharing the partnerships in a future Mission Moment.
If you would like to know more about The Exchangeree, please visit us at our website or call our headquarters at (443) 809-8962.
“There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.” – Margaret J. Wheatley