Photos by Rome City Schools

Helping Educators Lift Potential (H.E.L.P.) was created in 2017 as an outreach program for the North Rome Church of God and their church family. They acknowledged the important role our educators play in this community and wanted to create a way assist teachers with their classroom needs. Last year they were able to reach 83 teachers at three different schools providing each educator with $100 in school supplies.

The Principals at the chosen schools are contacted before the end of the school and given a “wish list” to be distributed to all of the teachers. This year, East Central Elementary was one of the lucky schools chosen to receive the donations.

The man behind H.E.L.P., Al Gallant, said, “It’s 2018 and this is our second year. We are going to four schools, primary or elementary, within the city and the county systems every year. We gave the teachers a wish list at the end of the school year and we asked them to tell us what it is they really want in their classrooms. They returned them to us and we spend six to seven weeks buying and filling the orders. We then deliver them back to the school system right at the start of the school year and that’s why we’re here with at East Central Elementary today. As we grow, our plan is to furnish every elementary and primary school in the city and county with these wish lists at a rate of four per year. Then we will start the rotation all over again.”

The money needed to fulfill these wishes is raised by the church and generous corporate sponsors. H.E.L.P. has been very successful in the last two years and their program and support is continuing to grow. Gallant reiterated, “The ‘P’ in H.E.L.P. is for potential. The potential is our little ones. They are our future; they are the future of everything. By empowering the teachers with more support, we help them to lift up their students.”

Mrs. Kristin Teems, Principal at East Central Elementary, was absolutely ecstatic. “Our teachers look like kids in a candy store. We were contacted last year and we were told that our school had been selected to a part of this wonderful opportunity. Our educators were so excited to fill out their wish lists and it’s a blessing to see this room filled with school supplies. This is a terrific program and we are so happy to be a part of it,” said Teems.

A thrilled Amy Massey, East Central kindergarten teacher, said, “They asked us to make a wish list of things that we didn’t want to use our personal money on and they granted our wishes.”

Educators often have to come up with ways to better their students learning environment, and many of these opportunities are not free. Teachers are extremely creative and sometimes their ideas require additional items for their classroom. This program gives them the resources to realize their visions and create classroom elements they may have to go and purchase themselves.

Commissioner Milton O. Slack III was one of the generous volunteers delivering the gifts like it was Christmas day. “This is part of our community outreach. We asked the teachers what they needed and we are happy that we were able to deliver,” said Commissioner Slack.

Not only were seasoned teachers thrilled to watch all of the supplies being delivered, a first year Teacher, Abby Carnil was on hand to the joyous event. Abby graduated from Berry College and this is her first year teaching at East Central and she was extremely excited receive a few extra things for her classroom. “It’s really nice to know there are programs that go above and beyond to help my students and educators,” said Carnil.