Taking Action: Huntsville City Schools use social media to let public know about needs and wishes

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) --  Huntsville City Schools is using social media to help fulfill needs in the classroom. The system runs a Virtual Volunteer Center to let the public know how they can help make the educational environment a little bit better.

"You can find out all the details of the request, the teacher name," said Rena Anderson as she navigated the site. Teachers can post about three things in the center: monetary donations, supplies, or volunteers.

"The great thing is it's a one-stop shop for the community to go to the website and look through all the wishes and needs," said Anderson. "The goal is for the community to adopt them."

It's a way for people in the community to help out and it shows them exactly how to do it. If you can't volunteer your time, you can look at the requests for supplies like notebooks and binders. Teachers also look for ways to motivate their students. When a child reaches a goal, a reward like a small gift card is a sweet treat for a job well done.

"Gift cards are a great way to give those students who reach a certain number of reading points, say a $5 gift card to Barnes and Noble," said Anderson. "It's an easy way to encourage them to keep reading,"she said. "Now, you have a gift card to buy a book with."

Anderson is posting all of the wishes and needs to the Facebook and Twitter pages of Huntsville City Schools. She told WHNT News 19 that she's getting feedback from do-gooders all across the country.

"I have an aunt in Cincinnati, and she saw that I posted on Facebook that a teacher wished for pencils," said Anderson. "She says, Rena, I have a drawer full of pencils in my kitchen. She ships me a bag of pencils via mail. Even people in Cincinnati are helping our teachers, so it's pretty cool."

You can log on to the Virtual Volunteer Center at this link. You can create an account and let them know what your interests are. The system will even match your interests with the needs of teachers and let you know by email if you have a skill set that could be useful for a particular classroom.

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