VALLEY — San Luis Valley Health is hosting a new project to ease the financial burden of elementary teachers across the Valley.
Called “The Apple Tree Project,” the initiative will distribute school supplies to over 175 classrooms serving about 3,500 students across the Valley. Colorado ranks at number 42 in the nation for teacher pay, and teachers spend an average of $600 per year out of pocket for supplies not provided by schools.
Director of Quality and Safety at SLV Health Jennifferr Baird spearheaded the committee in charge of the program because of her love of donating to schools.
“I have always known the importance of teachers; they are educating our future leaders,” said Baird. “In prior giving, the teachers were always so appreciative of the donations, and I knew we needed to do this on a bigger scale.”
The Apple Tree Project started with sending a letter to the principals as well as a letter to pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade teachers asking for their “wish list.” The committee received about 175 teacher replies with requests ranging from basic necessities like pencils, crayons, and notebooks to dry erase markers. These lists will be attached to special “Apple Trees” at SLV Health clinics and hospitals and also in the businesses of community partners.
Members of the communities can take an apple from the apple tree and purchase items on the lists to fulfill it. If someone doesn’t want to pick a specific apple, they’re welcome to donate general school supplies to drop-off locations.
Cash donations or checks made out to “SLV Health Apple Tree Project” are tax-deductible and can be mailed or dropped off at the Foundation office at 1921 Main Street, Alamosa. SLV Health will accept all donations throughout the month of July. Once the apple wish lists have been fulfilled, the supplies will be organized and distributed to the schools and teachers before the school year starts.
Caption: From left are Committee Members Julia Bryant, Jenn Baird, Adam Lawrence, Shawna Glynn-Apodaca, Michelle Gay, Jessica Watt, SLV Health employees who are working to make a difference in the SLV with the Apple Tree Project. Jackie Rheaume, Jeanette Martinez, Jim Frye, Chad Chavez, Denise Valenti, Mandy Crockett, and Kelly Gurule are committee members not pictured./Courtesy photo