Thursday, October 24, 2013

AGFT raises more than $3,700 at Whole Food's 5% Day!

We hope everyone is hungry!  Whole Food's Winter Park Market just held their quarterly 5% day, and AGFT was listed as the recipient this quarter!  We were able to set up a booth outside the entrance and talk to people as they walked by.  Plus we partnered with Whole Foods and had some pretty fun games and drawings for shoppers to win. 

All of the proceeds from the day's shoppers was totaled and we were give 5% of the total, which ended up being more than $3,700 including separate donations made at the booth.  Pretty amazing for one day!

We really enjoyed getting to be out in the community, even on a dreary day.  You get to connect with people and share A Gift For Teaching's mission.  When you see people light up, or talk about a family member that is a teacher, or maybe was a teacher themselves and is now retired, it makes such a big difference to not only our staff, but also our wonderful volunteers who helped us!!

WKMG came by and helped us tell our story.  Watch the clip below:


We want to give a big shout out and "Thank You!" to Whole Foods for partnering with us and making the day run so smoothly. :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

More than Music

Post by John Ly, AGFT Volunteer

More than Music
By John Ly
Ever since I could remember music has been a part of my life. If it wasn't for A Gift For Music, a program of A Gift For Teaching, I wouldn't be here doing what I am now. My first instrument was the violin and I was amazed at how unique the feeling was. In class we learned it all, from how to hold our instruments to playing like a pro. As time progressed I eventually joined the AGFM orchestra which rehearses on Saturdays. I played as a member of the orchestra from middle school to high school. I am very thankful for the opportunity to play my instrument both school and through the program considering that some schools don't even offer a music class. My time with the A Gift For Music program allowed me to benefit academically and socially through the lessons and the exposure I got. Having met so many fellow musicians through the program I was able to perform small gigs. However, the most rewarding aspect was helping other students that were in the program learn their instruments and assist the way I was assisted when I first entered the program.
As a freshman at Valencia Community College I still stay involved with A Gift For Teaching. The whole helping others part that I gained as a student with AGFM drew me to volunteer at the AGFT Free Teacher Store. I’ve seen how important it is to help with education, being able to participate at a great location with like minded people just feels rewarding to me. Helping teachers, who help their students by shopping for supplies and tools to take back to the classroom, is personally one of the best ways I could think of to help. It still surprised me to know that most schools lack funding and teachers have to pay out of pocket for them. I’m proud to contribute in the way I do!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Post by Bob Frost, AGFT Volunteer
Bob Frost

Two years ago, I became a winter resident of Central Florida as my wife and I became “snowbirds” from Rochester, New York.  Being a retired music teacher after almost 40 years in the classroom, I discovered A Gift For Teaching and it has been a most enjoyable volunteer opportunity for me.

When I greet teachers at the check-in desk, I sense a true empathy with them for I know all too well the kind of day they probably just had.  Dealing with disruptive students; responding to phone calls from angry parents; answering to administrators and supervisors.  These are the daily occurrences that all teachers deal with along with lesson plans, grading and classroom presentations. 

And yet the rewards, fulfillment and satisfaction from teaching far outweigh the negative aspects.  The teachers that come to AGFT every month are outstanding in every way.  They have passion, dedication, a great work ethic and a genuine love for their students.

So at the end of the day, we all are working for the kids.  For me though, I am there for the teachers.



Tuesday, November 27, 2012


The holidays are upon us, and shopping has begun. I am sure between early shopping Thanksgiving night, Black Fridy and Cyber Monday; we have all done our fair share of shopping. Well, today is #GivingTuesday, I say we all take a moment and support our favorite non-profit!
Tuesday, November 27, 2012, is the first ever #GivingTuesday! Initiated by New York’s 92nd Street Y, then catalyzed by The United Nations Foundation, this campaign can provide a major impact to non-profits everywhere. The #GivingTuesday mission is simple— “create a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season. It celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations.” How marvelous is that? A day, each year, where individuals can give back to those non-profits that have given so much to the respective communities they serve.
So, let’s break from all the holiday shopping and give back to our favorite local non-profit. Here at A Gift For Teaching, every dollar donated provides ten dollars’ worth of school supplies. Just imagine what your contribution could do for one of the thousands of children in the 323 public schools we serve throughout Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties.
Help us kick off a season of giving by donating today, #Giving Tuesday, by clicking here.
The best part? Thanks to matching gifts from the Galloway Foundation, Dr. Mary Palmer and Harriett Lake’s Charitable Trust, your gift will be DOUBLED, making a lot of dreams come true this holiday season.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

What a Teacher Makes

Posted by Valerie, Senior Manager, Grants and Program Development

During Teacher Appreciation Week, I always find myself going down memory lane and revisiting teachers I had growing up.  And, like you, there were favorites among the many over the years.  Ms. Bremser was my kindergarten teacher.  And while I don’t remember much, I think she must have been a favorite because I had fun, made friends, and was finally in school like my big sisters.
In the years to come, Mrs. Thompson, Mrs. Whitlatch, Mr. Mueller and Mr. Nichols all played their part in teaching English, Science, and History.  And while it was as much about learning the subjects, it was learning how to get along with others, get projects completed, and interacting with forces that would shape my future.  There were two high school teachers I really remember well, Mr. Wingo and Mr. Thomas.  They taught AP European History and English respectively.  Everyone feared their classes but loved them just the same.  For if you made it out of their classes, college was going to be a walk in the park.   You couldn’t fake it and they instinctively knew if you hadn’t done your assignment.  Maybe they could see it in our eyes or sense us praying that we wouldn’t be called on to answer a question. 
For all the memories, for all the time spent in school with friends, for all the homework assignments and everything else, we must not forget to say “thanks” to our teachers.  For those of you who haven’t seen Taylor Mali’s “what a teacher makes” check this out.   The question about “what a teacher makes" is answered.
Volunteers are the backbone of A Gift For Teaching and here is one shout out to teachers from a long-time volunteer and familiar face in the store, Chris Dawson.

Good Afternoon Teachers,   I would like say that I appreciate you coming because being an AGFT volunteer is important to me.  If you didn't come to AGFT and shop I wouldn't get to talk to you, answer questions and most importantly I wouldn't get to tell you the incredible value of your shop!!   Thank you for coming to shop at AGFT this school year and I hope you will continue to come shop next year.   Thank you for everything you do to help students, Chris Dawson

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bright Kids Book Drive

Posted by: Meredith
Do you remember your favorite books from childhood? I had a lot, but a few I remember in particular are the Anne of Green Gables series, Misty of Chincoteague and Green Eggs and Ham.

Sadly, there are a lot of students in Central Florida who may not have a favorite book. The average low-income home has 0-2 books. With your help, A Gift For Teaching wants to fix that!

Our Bright Kids Book Drive runs through tomorrow, March 30th, but we need good books all year long. Consider collecting new or gently used books at your office, faith-based organization or do some spring cleaning and clear off the kids' bookshelves!

Your donations could help foster a love for reading for kids in need, creating opportunities and igniting imaginations. What could be better than that?

If you have questions or would like more information, please don't hesitate to contact me at

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cookin' up Crayons

Posted by: Valerie Mardle, Senior Manager, Grants & Program Development

On Wednesday, February 22nd, A Gift For Teaching hosted award-winning author/illustrator, Janeen Mason to join art teachers and media specialists for a special class through the School SmARTS program. Janeen was able to share with the group the “life cycle” of illustrations and how they come to life for books, along with her journey of becoming more than just an illustrator. Janeen has authored several books, does amazing sculptures, and large scale fine art. Some of her works belong in the collections of Burt Reynolds, Reba McEntire, Evan Lloyd and S. Kent Rockwell. Teachers were thrilled to participate in making crayon art (using electric griddles!) during the session. Many shared that this type of art will be exciting for their students as it brings a new dimension to using crayons. One teacher even said “I’m an adult kid drawing and learning with crayons…I love it and can’t wait to share it with my high school students!” Teachers were able to network with other teachers, gather some great ideas, and all received a signed copy of “Going Around the Sun: Some Planetary Fun.”

For those who might like more information about Janeen, you can visit her website at She will also be participating in the upcoming book fest at UCF. Learn more at