Comedian Stephen Colbert announced Thursday that he will be funding $800,000 in grants to public school teachers in his native South Carolina. The money will be used to fulfill all outstanding requests made by the state's teachers on the crowdfunding site DonorsChoose.org -- almost 1,000 projects in over 375 schools, Greenville Online reports.
On DonorsChoose.org, teachers list "projects" they'd like to have funded at their schools. They range from getting basic supplies in classrooms to more high-tech items such as laptops and iPads. In the requests Colbert has pledged to fund, teachers sought money for motivational posters, books with more diverse protagonists, tie-dye kits, musical instruments, gym equipment and, simply, pencils.
Colbert, who is on DonorsChoose.org's board of directors, partnered with Share Fair Nation and ScanSource to make the contributions. He raised the money by auctioning off set pieces from his former show, "The Colbert Report."
"I commend Stephen, Share Fair Nation, and Greenville's own ScanSource for the support that they have given the dedicated and hardworking teachers of South Carolina through this gracious gift. I know these teachers will use it in a way that improves the quality of education for South Carolina's students,” said Molly Spearman, state superintendent of education, according to WCBD News.
The announcement Thursday was a surprise. The comedian videoconferenced with Alexander Elementary School in Greenville to tell them the news. Nearly 100 percent of Alexander students qualify for free or reduced lunches. Colbert's funding will provide the school with books, bulletin boards, carpet, basic school supplies, and a trampoline and treadmill for sensory therapy.
Art therapy in Nepal
Following the magnitude-7.8 earthquake that struck Nepal last month, the staff from Nepal Children's Art Museum (CAM) has been working at a child friendly space (CFS) -- an area set-up by UNICEF that provides support for children following emergencies -- to help kids create art as a form of healing.The group hopes its work can give the kids some support during this difficult time, according to founder Sneha Shrestha.
"Art is a good way to help them recover from the disaster. Providing children with learning experiences during these hard times gives children safety and predictability," Sneha told The Huffington Post. "We hope that they don’t lose their imagination and continue to draw, play, learn and just be children."
At the CFS, the museum staff provides art supplies and toys to the children, Nistha Shrestha, CAM’s director, told HuffPost. They participate in creative and educational activities with the kids as well. Sometimes, the children tell stories with puppets CAM has given them, or draw different landscapes or objects. While art may not seem so important after a natural disaster, it can be crucial to a child's rehabilitation.
"Some of these children have not had any of these experiences even before the earthquake occurred," Nistha said. "We hope that we are giving them an opportunity to associate the earthquake with more positive memories of a space where they feel safe, cared for and appreciated."
Stories from Huffington Post