Got A Pen? Helping kids in need get the start they deserve

As a PhD student that’s been blowing about USyd for over 12 years, it’s no doubt that I love learning. I absolutely loved school as a kid. But for as long as I can remember, nothing got me quite as excited about a new school year like the prospect of stationary shopping… and it still does to this day!

So when I heard about a local Sydney-based charity, ‘Got a Pen?’ that is combatting inequality by providing students in need with the stationary items they need to succeed in school, I was on board in a heartbeat!

 

It’s so easy to get caught up in our own lives. But rather than get tangled in a heated discussion of privilege, class, and inequality, I’d simply like to focus on two things that I like to impart to my students:

  1. it is important to acknowledge how lucky we are in our own lives
  2. it is even more important to take action and be the change we wish to see

There are so many charities doing wonderful work for so many important causes, but ‘Got a Pen?’ really struck a chord.

The thought of a child not being able to complete their school work because they don’t have a pen really hit me hard. The thought of a child falling behind in school because they don’t have a calculator to do their math homework began to upset me.

But what really knocked me off my perch was the knowledge that somewhere out there, a child is being labelled as ‘lazy’ for not doing their homework, when really they just didn’t have a pencil. Or that a kid somewhere out there doesn’t want to go to school because they feel different to all the other kids because they don’t have a pencil case.

Earlier this year Dance Domain held a collection drive for ‘Got A Pen?’. With the full support of the DD SRC, we collected pens, pencils, rulers, rubbers, scissors, coloured pencils, textas and pencil cases.

As soon as we posted the notice of the collection drive on our social media pages, we got an instant response from our students who were all-in too! Just 3 hours after posting, we got this photo with the message “What a great idea, I’m in!”:

Dance Domain_Miss S Donates to Got A Pen

“What a great idea – I’m in!” – Our DD Rep, Miss S, shows her community spirit and generosity 

Over the first two weeks of term we collected new stationary items to help ‘Got A Pen?’ meet their pledge of 3000 stationary kits for kids in need. We were so impressed with the thought and generosity of our students as they brought in new stationary items for the drive. Our senior students made their way to the studio on their days off to drop off supplies too!

More than just a collection drive though, I really hoped that it gave our students an insight into the lives of others. I hoped that it educated them that the simple little things we can often take for granted can have a massive impact in the lives of others.

Many students came and talked to me about how they loved getting new stationary and how it motivated them… and how surprised they were that this wasn’t the case for all other children. I heard beautiful stories from parents who told me that their child used their own pocket money to purchase items to donate.

Got A Pen made a pledge earlier this year to make 3000 complete stationary kits to donate across Sydney to kids in need – and they made it! We were so proud to be able to help contribute to this amazing cause.

If you’d like to help out too, you can donate:

  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Erasers
  • Rulers (15cm preferred)
  • Scissors
  • Pencil Cases
  • Sharpeners
  • Highlighters
  • Glue Sticks

All items need to be new and you can find out where to send or drop off your items by contacting the team at Got a Pen on their Facebook page or on their website

 

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