A modest crowd-sourced campaign to fund classroom furniture ultimately caught the attention of a business owner who ended up donating hundreds of thousands of dollars in new items, delivered last week to the Sierra Sands Unified School District warehouse.
“This all started after I submitted a Donors Choose Project during the summer of 2017 to request donations to implement flexible seating in my classroom,” said Jessica Auld, a second-grade teacher at Faller Elementary School.
Margaret Schlom, the best friend of Auld’s mother, Jennifer Silberberg, saw the request and reached to Auld to see if she needed tables. Margaret and her husband, Marty, own Corona-based Culver-Newlin — a furniture dealer that specializes in educational needs.
“As a matter of fact I did need tables — that was going to be my next Donors Choose project,” said Auld. “Within a week after that call, my husband [Bryan] and I were headed down to Culvern Newlin in the biggest U-Haul we could get to pick up my tables. We ended up with not only tables for my classroom, but hundreds of other tables, chairs, filing cabinets and other items for Sierra Sands!
“I felt truly blessed and honored to receive such a generous gift. It was unexpected, but very appreciated!”
Having received more than her own classroom could hold, Auld shared the wealth with her colleagues.
Auld and the other recipient teachers expressed their gratitude by having their students write letters to Marty Schlom and his company, sent along with photos showing the new furniture in use.
“The response was overwhelming,” said Marty. “Ms. Auld was kind enough to send a video of the children’s reactions as they ran into the room, seeing the new furniture for the first time, and they were ecstatic.
“It made us want to do more for this district!”
Marty noted that part of Culver-Newlin’s mission is to give back to communities. Once he saw the needs in Ridgecrest, he took action.
“We understand that not all school districts have the funding for new classroom items, and we believe deeply that furniture makes an incredible impact on the day-to-day learning environment.”
After donating about $100,000 last year, Culver-Newlin contributed another $200,000 worth of furniture this year — which arrived in the community las week.
Mather Bros. partnered with the school district to help with shipping, and moved two 53-foot truckloads worth of donations.
“Marty is a very generous man, and will never know just how many Sierra Sans students his donations have reached,” said Auld. “He is giving our students a place to learn that they can take pride in.”
“Ridgecrest is a wonderful community,” said Marty. “We know that there are lots of military and young families in the area and we are proud to support them through school improvements.”