One week after starting the new school year, children at Jackson Magnet STEM Dual Language Academy in Altadena got a “kick start” on a year of learning Aug. 24 thanks to a donation from school and office supply company Yoobi.
After a morning assembly, Yoobi founder Ido Leffler, Chief Giving Officer Justin Wolff and a crew of Yoobi staffers delivered 29 boxes full of free supplies to classrooms, enough for every student.
Yoobi, which previously sold its supplies exclusively through Target, opened its first store in June at Westfield Santa Anita in Arcadia. With every purchase, the company donates school supplies to classrooms in need in the U.S. And with purchases from the Yoobi store, all donations go to community schools within a 10-mile radius of the store.
Leffler says Jackson Elementary was chosen to receive this first donation because of its uniqueness. All students benefit from the campus focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education, and students can also participate in the schools Dual Language Immersion Program, where they are fully immersed in Spanish for 90 percent of the day in Kindergarten, tapering to 50 percent by third grade. “They really care and they really want these kids to truly excel,” Leffler says of the educators at Jackson.
In a kindergarten cross-immersion classroom, Leffler, who is based in the Bay Area, knelt beside a box of Yoobi supplies and told the students about his three little girls. He then invited the excited students to help him open the box, and he began pulling out markers, pencils, pencil cases, and other bright Yoobi supplies. Teacher Veronica Alcantar then directed the children back to their desks and the Yoobi team started distributing the donations. Boxes like the one Leffler opened, each of which holds supplies for 30 students, were distributed to each Jackson classroom.
The event at Jackson kicked off a back-to-school season that will see Yoobi distributing supplies to 4,000 kids, all in the Pasadena Unified School District within a 10-mile radius of the Santa Anita store and all based on purchases made at that store. “The goal was that we would have everything that is bought in the store generate a local gift,” Leffler says. “The community has really warmly welcomed Yoobi.”
The giving will continue, and Leffler encourages families to take advantage of the Yoobi store as a way to give back. With items that cost as little as 69 cents, kids can easily get into the act. Leffler says that instead of taking his two older girls (the youngest is just 10 months) shopping for school supplies, he gave them cash to spend at Yoobi so they could give back, too.
Meanwhile, the company is looking to open new stores in other locations, so more schools can benefit. “Every 10-mile radius,” Leffler says, “has schools in need.”