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Young Audiences sends boxes of joy and art resources to 5,400 teachers across Oregon and SW Washington

“We received the care packages this morning and distributed them to the teachers! What a kind gesture! This is so very much appreciated by them and me! Thank you for the recognition of all they are doing! I have an amazing staff and they are giving it 1000% effort! Thank you so much for taking care of teachers, who take such good care of kids!”

– Sarah at Willamina Elementary

“I would like to thank you and your team for the thoughtful act and kind gesture of sending the care packages to our teachers. It was a nice surprise and greatly appreciated by all.”

– Jerome at Bridlemile Elementary

In February, gift boxes filled with self-care materials, such as tea, spa treatments, and joyful art resources will be delivered to teachers across the region as a thank you for their unwavering service. As communities grapple with the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, teachers have been on the frontlines making sure students maneuver through the trials of remote learning, in-person restrictions and general ongoing uncertainty in an ever-changing landscape.

For more than 60 years, Young Audiences of Oregon and SW Washington and their roster of Teaching Artists have worked side-by-side with teachers in the classroom and, since the pandemic, online to deliver creative learning experiences through arts integration, leveraging a variety of art forms to engage students, and broaden children’s cultural horizons.

“Teachers are working incredibly hard and dealing with overwhelming challenges that just seem to never let up. Because of our long partnership, Young Audiences and our teaching artists see firsthand how incredibly selfless these teachers have been and still are under extraordinary circumstances,” said Lauren Jost, Executive Director of Young Audiences. “As we hit the two-year mark of a pandemic with no clear end in sight, we wanted to let teachers know how much we appreciate them as they care for our children while adjusting to the ever-changing circumstances.”

This idea of creating a gift box of self-care items, started when a Young Audiences staff member reached out to some teachers asking if there was something they needed to help them through this time. Almost all asked for small, simple items that would make a difference, such as: bath salts, journals, and art kits. A committee was formed to come up with the final list of items, volunteers came together to gather the items and corporate partners jumped at the opportunity to help assemble the gift boxes.

Once the gift boxes are assembled, teachers will find: tea, EmergenC packets, spa face masks, art-making resources, and self-care arts-based resources for teachers and students inside the kits. All in all, the goal is help the teachers to find time for relaxation and joyful activities.

The gift boxes will be mailed or hand-delivered to school district facilities starting February 2nd. 45 school districts made up of 252 schools across the region, including Portland Public Schools, Oregon Trail, Beaverton and Hillsboro School Districts, Schools in Central Oregon and Southwest Washington, plus a few schools in Tillamook and Clatstop counties will be receiving these gift boxes to give to teachers.

“A big thank you to our corporate partners, Oregon Screen Impressions, for helping assemble the gift boxes, and to local businesses Crystal Ball and Mr. OK’s Essentials for donating spa materials. And thank you to the schools and teachers for continuing to care and support our children during these challenging times.”

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