Classroom treasures

SRP volunteers sew pencil cases for underprivileged students

When 1,000 students across the Valley return to school this fall, a unique take on a back-to-school basic will be there to help them get started.

Hand-sewn pencil cases — with designs ranging from butterflies and pirates to ballerinas and dinosaurs — were made by about 40 SRP employees and retirees, along with their family and friends, who are part of a quilting club called the Kilowatt Kwilters.

Retiree Sue Riordan, president of the Kilowatt Kwilters, said while the group typically works on charity projects that involve donating quilts, pillowcases and dog beds, this year they wanted to sew smaller items that could be made quickly using leftover fabric pieces.

Some members prepared 1,000 kits that included colorful pieces of fabric cut to size and a colorful zipper, and the rest helped assemble them.

“This project was especially fun because we were working together to help hardworking teachers in our community,” Riordan said. “We hope the pencil cases give teachers one more tool that helps inspire their students to want to learn.”

About 40 SRP volunteers and family members helped make pencil cases in May. From L to R: Kim Price (employee), Kyndall Price (Kim’s daughter) and Barbara Goins (employee). Photo by Lindsey Averill

The pencil cases won’t go empty either, thanks to Lori Jones, Maintenance Services Manager, Vegetation Management, who donated 2,000 pencils for the project.

“When I heard about the loving efforts of the Kilowatt Kwilters, I thought, ‘Well, pencil cases need pencils,’” she said.

Jones said she wanted to help because as someone who has several teacher friends, she knew that many teachers devote personal expenses to make their classrooms the best learning environments possible for their students.

The group donated the pencil cases to Treasures 4 Teachers, a Tempe-based nonprofit that provides classroom materials to teachers on a slim budget.

Barbara Blalock, Founder of Treasures 4 Teachers, said she’s thankful for SRP’s longstanding support of the nonprofit.

“A lot of people can’t even imagine that many students come to school without any supplies, which makes them feel embarrassed,” Blalock said. “So while for many people these are a small item, for students from low-income families, it really lifts their self-esteem and helps them focus better in class.”

Featured photo: SRP volunteers presented pencil cases to Barbara Blalock (center), Founder, Treasures 4 Teachers. Photo by Laura Segall.

Sonu Munshi

Sonu Munshi

Sonu is a communications strategist at SRP. She mainly handles social media and blogs at work, and two mostly adorable kids at home. She’s a writer at heart, and, naturally, always open to recommendations for the next great coffee shop in town.

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