NewsInspiring

WATCH: Oklahoma’s Panhandling Teacher Spreads the Wealth to Her Fellow Educators

By Tim Newcomb | November 29, 2017

This article is one in a series at The 74 that profiles the heroes, victories, success stories, and random acts of kindness to be found at schools all across America. Read more of our recent inspiring profiles at The74million.org/series/inspiring.

Oklahoma teacher Teresa Danks made news this summer with her roadside panhandling to raise money for classroom supplies. Now, she is hitting the road again — but this time, she’s going school to school handing out money to teachers for their own classrooms.

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Danks, a third-grade teacher at Grimes Elementary in Tulsa, pulled in only about $50 after she took to the curbside, sign in hand, in her hometown of Claremore. But her effort turned into a “Begging for Education” GoFundMe campaign that has netted nearly $30,000 — and other donations besides — that has allowed Danks to spread the wealth.

“I’m trying to give money from one teacher to the next,” she tells Fox 23.

Recently, she handed out $300 gift cards to 22 teachers at Foyil Elementary School, who said they will use the funds for computers, books, and more.

“It’s wonderful because I don’t have to budget my personal budget to figure out what I can spend out of it to compensate for the things I need for my room,” Ella Niece, a teacher at Foyil, tells KFOR.

Previously, Danks doled out $400 apiece to teachers at Albion Public Schools and helped out colleagues at Grimes Elementary School as well.

“I’m excited that I can buy extras, I can buy art supplies, I can enrich these kids a little bit,” says Albion teacher Greg Barrs in a video put together by Begging for Education.

“It is imperative we invest in our future,” Danks says in the video.

Danks wrote on her GoFundMe page that “an educated nation is a better nation” — but in Oklahoma, budget cuts have forced some of the lowest-paid teachers in the country to fork over thousands of dollars each year out of their own pockets for basic school supplies.

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“We can make not only the teachers successful in Oklahoma, but through the nation,” Danks says. “No teachers should spend money out of pocket.”

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