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Former Kealakehe Student Gives Back Through Supply Spree

July 24, 2015, 3:00 PM HST
* Updated July 24, 3:04 PM
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Christy Logan is an ordinary woman who completed an extraordinary feat following a stint as a temporary teacher at Kealakehe Elementary School in April.

Logan ventured off on nothing more than a “wing and a prayer” to raise $4,000 for the school’s students through grants from the Art 4 Moore Foundation and the Rotary Club of Kona.

“This was just a wing and a prayer, an idea that spawned from seeing a need,” Logan told Big Island Now in an interview Thursday.

Beginning an extended substitute teaching role at her former elementary school, Logan brought in rolls of paper for students to create art on. The excitement of an art project quickly turned to disappointment and even arguments when the first grade classroom’s paint supply was shockingly sparse.

Following the chaotic attempt at a fun project, Logan stopped at a nearby store to see how much these supplies actually cost. What she found were prices that didn’t seen realistic for a teacher’s budget. It was then that Logan began to form an idea, which would soon become thousands of dollars in supplies.

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A construction manager by trade and a substitute teacher through love, Logan decided to apply her skills in management to a project that would benefit the students. “My skill set in project management applies to fundraisers and any project. It doesn’t have to be industry specific. I actually help with a non-profit in the summertime, Hawai’i Island Hoops, where I do stuff for basketball camps in June every year,” she noted.

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Logan though it would be “fantastic” if teachers could go into a store and purchase the items they needed without worrying about spending the money out of their own pockets, so she began to research and learned about Art 4 Moore, a non-profit organization out of California that was established in memory of Marjory Moore Brooks. The organization provides art supplies, support, and funding for youth.

To Logan’s delight, the organization would grant up to $2,000 without having to get approval from its board. With the idea of a shopping spree for the classes in mind, Logan took a chance and applied for a grant of $1,500. It was approved.

With $1,500 in funding for a project that began in the aisles of a local Walmart, Logan set off to make a plan outlining a shopping spree event for the first graders. After conferring with the school’s principal, Nancy Matsukawa, it was suggested that money could be distributed throughout the grade levels and through a shopping spree event involving teachers and parents.

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A bigger project would require more money, so Logan re-applied for an Art 4 Moore grant, which was accepted with an additional $500. Logan also approached the Rotary Club of Kona with the idea of turning it into a community-involved project. The Rotary Club matched the Art  4 Moore $2,000 grant.

“The rotary paper work said up to $1,000, but I put down $2,000 and told them why I wanted it and about Art 4 Moore and that I was hoping they would be willing to match it and they were,” Logan explained. “They called me during their board meeting and put me on speaker phone and wanted me to tell them all about it. One of the things they asked were how the project would impact the community, so I made the event one that would bring parents and teachers together.”

Logan organized the $4,000 shopping spree event that took place on Wednesday at Kona Walmart, where six teams, each comprised of a teacher and a parent, had $675 to spend in a 15-minute time limit. Logan said it took careful planning and research on past shopping spree events to create it into a prize-winning contest. “All the rules for the event I created from nothing. I did research on other shopping sprees around the country.”

The team who had the closest to $675 without going over in the time limit also won prizes, courtesy of Java on the Rock and Logan’s own personal pocket.

“To make it competitive, I put a grand prize together for the winning team. I used my own gift cards from my credit card rewards, things I didn’t even know I had, to create this grand prize,” Logan noted, adding that a near random encounter with the owner of Java on the Rock led to additional gift cards to give as prizes.

Four-thousand dollars in a handful of months lit a fire under Logan, who says she plans to continue to fundraise and seek out grants for next year. Logan believes the money for the kids is out there, and that the fundraiser only has room for growth.

“All the teachers really loved it and they thought it was great. Everybody was just so thankful and I was just worried it wasn’t enough. I would have liked them to have as much as they wanted. Kealakehe has nine first grade classes, so $675 doesn’t go very far,” Logan said. “I see it having the possibility to grow larger and that would be great. I can see another annual event for Kealakehe Elementary school.”

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