WINDHAM — An elementary school principal took the ball in a fundraising project and ran with it.
Using a website, $1,300 was collected over two or three months to bring new soccer equipment to Windham Elementary School.
"I just set it up on my own without any information going out to the parents. I did it as a summer thing," teaching principal Mickey Parker-Jennings said. "The first donation was $200 from an anonymous person from Richmond, Vt. That got the process rolling."
Unsure whether all the funding would come in, Parker-Jennings later shared a link with parents and friends. He heard about the website donorschoose.org on a radio program. Through it, he requested and received funding for larger goals for the soccer field, 15 pairs of shin guards, 15 pairs of socks with built-in shin guards, 15 mini-soccer balls and four sets of goalie gloves.
The fundraising went "fairly quick" for Parker-Jennings.
"Quicker than I thought," he said.
Donorschoose.org was founded by a high school teacher in New York City in 2001. The goal was to allow public school teachers across the United States to ask for "much-needed materials and experiences for their students," according to the website.
Any teacher can set up an account.
"You can search for projects or if you have something in mind, you just go there and set it up and follow a list of instructions. Then you post it on their site," Parker-Jennings said. "People who want to make donations decide to fund it or not."
A teacher from Brattleboro Area Middle School currently has an account on the website. Students need iPads to increase the use of technology in class and in after-school programs, the project description stated. The goal is to reach $1,230.
Several other schools in Vermont have projects listed.
Parker-Jennings said he hopes to use the site again. He wants to get cleats for some of the kids and standard size soccer balls.
Windham Elementary students play a lot of soccer during recess, Parker-Jennings told the Reformer.
"It's one of the games we can really involve the whole K-6 school," he said. "The kids are totally pumped. They're very excited, using the goals. Everyone's got shin guards and socks. They don't have to worry about getting hit in the shins."
According to Superintendent Bill Anton, Parker-Jennings has brought the website to the attention of colleagues in the Windham Central Supervisory Union Leadership Council.
Call Chris Mays at 802-254-2311, ext. 273.