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Brewmasters leads Adopt-A-Classroom school supply drive

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The Hunt High School Dance Ensemble works on yoga poses during Amanda Bennett's class Friday. The yoga mats were donated as a part of Brewmasters' Adopt-A-Classroom project last year where the community bands together to fulfill teachers' wish lists.

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By Olivia Neeley
The Wilson Times

Monday, September 11, 2017

Hunt High School dance director Amanda Bennett was ecstatic when a large package arrived at the school last year. That package was filled with 35 yoga mats for students’ use during classes.

“It was like Christmas,” Bennett said.

Bennett was one of many Wilson County Schools teachers who received a wish list of items thanks to the community partnering with Brewmasters’ Adopt-A-Classroom initiative. And Brewmasters is back at again this year ensuring teachers have the resources they need to make a difference.

Brewnmasters recently kicked off its third annual Adopt-A-Classroom project, an effort that allows individuals, groups or businesses to fulfill teachers’ wish lists.

“We want to get as many classrooms adopted as we can,” said Molly Youssef, who is not only a teacher but owns Brewmasters with her husband, Morkos. “Teaching is a difficult job, but if you don’t have resources to do interesting lessons, and try and get the kids involved and engaged, it’s an even more impossible task.”

With continued budget cuts to public education, teachers and schools need this more than ever, she said. And dedicated teachers spend hundreds of dollars each year of their own money on supplies to make their classrooms a place where children can learn and grow.

This project hopes to alleviate that burden for teachers by bringing the community together to help them.

“There is always a need,” Youssef said. “And that doesn’t change from year to year.”

‘FULL CIRCLE’

Brewmasters works with the school system each year in getting wish lists submitted. This year, Brewmasters has received 240 wish lists from teachers across the county. Requested supplies range from white copy paper to colored pencils to glue sticks as well as gallon-size Ziploc bags and containers.

Some of the lists this year are even more specific, including Oregon Trail board games, saw horses to make mini ping-pong tables for a physical education class, dry erase markers, a small French flag, neckties, a color printer, basketballs, vinyl for making kindergarten superhero capes, classroom rugs and colorful pillows for special needs classes.

The lists’ supply costs range from $5 to $6,000.

Last year, teachers from 170 classrooms submitted lists, which totaled about $50,000 worth in requests. Through donations from the community and businesses, the Adopt-A-Classroom project was able to fulfill $10,000 worth of those wish lists. There were several businesses and others who fulfilled more expensive wish lists last year. That included a phonics program kit, ukuleles for an entire music class, art supplies, an air pump and Bennett’s 35 yoga mats.

Bennett said the yoga mats have been a wonderful addition to her dance classes.

“Especially with my Dance I students,” she said. “It really helps them feel their weight at the bottom of their feet and how they control that. I also teach the principle of breath for dance using yoga.”

Students a part of Hunt’s dance ensemble were using those yoga mats last week, too. The yoga mats are also used by physical education classes.

Bennett said not only is she grateful to those who help teachers each year as a part of this project, but so are the students. She said the entire project shows students that people in the community care about them and it also teaches them what people can do when they work together.

“You see everything come full circle,” she said.

This year, Bennett has asked for set of classroom lap desks.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Brewmasters hopes to get more classrooms adopted this year. And there are various ways folks can get involved. Brewmasters has a binder filled with this year’s requests. Folks can visit the pub and pick out a classroom, then purchase the desired items and deliver them to that particular classroom.

Brewmasters also has a list of items from each school on its website, where folks can browse and select wishes to fulfill.

If you don’t have time to drop off the items to the school, you can bring them to Brewmasters and they will do it for you. The business also created a crowdfunding page this year where people can donate money that Brewmasters will use to fulfill teachers’ requests.

“We are trying to make it easy to donate,” Youssef said. “Brewmasters is just the middleman. We can’t do it alone. It’s about the community coming together.”

On Saturday, Sept. 9, Brewmasters will donate 20 percent of all sales to the Adopt-A-Classroom project.

To adopt a classroom, visit Brewmasters at 2117 Forest Hills Road beside Dollar General, call 252-991-6035 or email molly@brewmastersnc.com.

You can visit www.brewmastersnc.com and peruse specific lists from specific schools or donate via www.gofundme.com/brewmastersadoptaclassroom.

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