Adopt a Hillsborough teacher program founder Brooke Elkins was recognized by the school board in August.

The Hillsborough County School Board, along with Interim Superintendent Van Ayers, recognized the Adopt a Hillsborough Teacher program and its founder, Brooke Elkins, at the August 22 school board meeting.

School board member Jessica Vaughn (District 3) gave the recognition. She shared that through the Adopt a Hillsborough Teacher program thousands of teachers have had their classroom supply needs provided for by community members.

“This initiative has demonstrated the unity in our collective community. The school board and interim superintendent Van Ayers want to acknowledge and thank the continued efforts of Ms. Elkins in supporting our educators. She is a truly a community champion who supports our mission of preparing students for life. Thank you for making us Hillsborough Strong,” she said.

In July of 2020, Elkins and Lorra Gilman started the Adopt a Hillsborough Teacher Facebook group to support teachers and their needs as they started teaching during the pandemic. Gilman was a teacher in Hillsborough County and Elkins had been a teacher as well. Their teaching experience made them keenly aware of the struggles teachers were having. In the group, teachers can share their needs by posting Amazon wish lists and community members can purchase their specific items from the lists.

Elkins appreciates the gratitude and recognition from the school board.

“I feel it’s significant because it shows that the school board recognizes that there is a lack of public school funding that teachers so desperately need in order to help their students be successful,” Elkins said.

Elkins shared that she is passionate about helping teachers because they constantly put the kids first, even before themselves.

“One of the messages that I want people to understand is how much these teachers care about the quality of learning these kids have. They often are willing to supply the needs out of their own pocket. It doesn’t cost much to show a teacher you care. A pack of pencils or a box of tissues can go a long way,” Elkins said.

Being part of the Adopt a Hillsborough Teacher program is simple: request to join the Adopt a Hillsborough Teacher Facebook group. The group currently has over 17,000 members. Elkins is still an admin, along with Hillsborough County teacher Emily Lee and community member and parent Jennifer Abadi.

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