With an average of nearly 30 kids per classroom and ever-shrinking supply budgets, America’s public school teachers struggle to foster student imagination when they don’t even have the essential BASICS like notebooks and pencils. As one local Denver teacher puts it, these students’ worlds are incredibly small — often stretching no further than their homes, their schools, and the local 7-11.
As a leading school backpack retailer — not to mention passionate global evangelists for the educational aspects of travel — eBags holds this issue close to our hearts. So this year, we decided to take action. Through the innovative non-profit organization DonorsChoose.org, we’re thrilled to be able to donate $1 for every school backpack purchased during our busy school backpack season.
Connecting Students in Need to the Wider World
Founded in 2000 by a public high school teacher in New York, DonorsChoose.org helps teachers in under-funded school districts bridge the gap between their students and the wider world. How? By making it easy for anyone to fund classroom projects in public schools throughout the country.
Donors can contribute in increments as small as $1 to any project that piques their interest — whether they’re passionate about the subject matter, or feel connected to a school in their hometown. To date, the organization has raised more than $400M nationwide, impacting more than 18M students in nearly 70,000 schools.
Encouraging Kids to Explore Beyond their Doorsteps
Denver’s McGlone Elementary, a historically low-performing school that had declining enrollment and high teacher turnover, credits DonorsChoose.org with helping them turn their institution around. Not only do they rely on their donors for basic supplies, they have also used it to launch a new Google Expeditions program — enabling inner-city kids to travel the world using disposable virtual reality goggles.
“For the most part, travel is pretty much out of their reach. These kids live an hour from Rocky Mountain National Park — arguably one of the most beautiful places on Earth — and they’ve never been,” says George Moore, who teaches technology at McGlone. “When I started to explain to the students that you could go to the pyramids…you could go to the White House…it didn’t even occur to them that those options were available.”
McGlone’s groundbreaking Google Expeditions program has enabled Moore and his team to transform his students’ smartphones into virtual reality goggles that allow them to experience a level of experiential learning that would otherwise not be possible. We’re pleased to note that a portion of our donation this season will go toward expanding this program — taking more kids to more places than ever before.
Lofty Goals with Measurable Results
Once labeled a “turnaround school” by the Denver Public School system, today McGlone enjoys the highest literacy growth in the state of Colorado. Principal Sarah Goodall counts the school’s DonorsChoose.org programs as part of the reason for its dramatic shift…and eBags couldn’t agree more.
Helping elementary kids create their own journeys throughout the world via virtual reality is perfectly aligned with our mission and values as a company. We genuinely believe that travel creates better world citizens — so we’re thrilled to be involved in helping these kids learn about the world beyond their doorsteps” — eBags co-Founder, Peter Cobb
Help us Make a Difference for Public Schools
Do your Back-to-School shopping with eBags, and help us make a difference for America’s public schools! Shop school backpacks now — your DonorsChoose.org donation will be made at checkout!
Krista’s passion for exploration and world travel was ignited in college when she packed her suitcase and moved to Sweden to study International Business for a year. She hopped on a train or plane every weekend from her home in Uppsala and traveled throughout Europe, making new friends and new memories along the way. Soon after her college career ended, she felt the tug of wanderlust again, and this time went even further…to live on the beach down under in a little place called Australia! Krista’s traveling habit started stacking up frequent flyer miles and she didn’t have a way to organize or utilize all of the points she was earning. So she decided to take matters into her own hands and founded UsingMiles , a company that would help frequent flyers and road warriors become mile moguls. Fast forward to today and you will find Krista engaging with travelers from all over the world to help them find the perfect bag. And of course, planning her next trip.