Amidst freezing temperatures in Baltimore City, many expressed concerns regarding lack of heat in classrooms where children were expected to learn. The Baltimore Teachers Union wrote a letterurging the administration to close schools until heating issues were resolved, stressing that both students and teachers have been forced to endure extremely low temperatures.
After her younger sister began to complain about the lack of heat and frigid temperatures in her classrooms, Samierra Jones, a Coppin State University student, felt that she wanted to help but wasn’t exactly sure what to do. It appeared that the heating issue, while a concern to the school board and local government, was one that would take time to resolve. She began thinking what she could do to help the students in Baltimore City schools at that moment! Jones decided to create a GoFundMe campaign, “We need heat in our public schools.”
In partnership with Valerie Arum, a Morgan State University student, the duo began calling schools and asking what resources they needed to get their students through this brutal winter. Arum reached out to Aaron Maybin, former NFL player and current Arts and Literacy Teacher at Matthew A. Henson Elementary.
Together, the trio began to galvanize the community in order to provide schools with temporary heating units, hats, gloves, thermals, coats, and other resources. To their surprise, individuals from all over the world began donating money and asking what they could do to assist.The trio rose over $80,000, exceeding their $20,000 goal, while simutaneousely coordinating with local businesses to be the shipping location for winter gear donations.