Help Give Colorful Panda Headphones to a Classroom in the Rural South

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Mrs. Owens would like to give her students headphones that match their school mascot. You can help through DonorsChoose. (Photo: Califone International, Inc.)
Kelly Zhou has written on a variety of topics for TakePart, predominantly politics, education, and wildlife.

Vicki Owens, a first-grade teacher in South Carolina, wants to deck her classroom out in pandas. Specifically, panda headphones for her 15 young students—reflecting her school’s furry black and white mascot.

Owens, who works in a high-poverty area, is asking for help via DonorsChoose, an online charity site tailored toward helping classrooms.

“Each student loves coming to our school. They tell me that every day,” Owens wrote on her DonorsChoose program page. “My goal is to keep them excited about school.”

With DonorsChoose, you can help her purchase these much-needed headphones:

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Her students at Andrews Elementary School need headphones for computer and listening station activities every day, and she hopes that giving them each a pair will help them take ownership and care for their own supplies.

“And the pandas on every ear will really show our school spirit when someone walks in [the classroom],” Mrs. Owens writes.

The city of Andrews includes about 3,000 people, only 11 percent of whom have received a four-year degree or higher. The median income is $17,500, and about 60 percent of the population is below the poverty line. “We have two chain grocery stores and two traffic lights,” Mrs. Owens writes. “Most of the students in my classroom receive free or reduced lunch.”

Mrs. Owens, who has been teaching for more than 19 years, sees working headphones as a must for her students.

“These panda headphones will inspire my students to take care of school materials....By using these panda headphones it will remind them to follow the panda expectations (rules) set by the school,” Owens writes about her project. “I hope, that by giving each student their own pair, they will see the importance of taking care of them all year.”

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