TALLAHASSEE FLA. (WTXL) — Local businesses around Tallahassee are making sure kindergartners and first graders have what they need for a successful school year.
The Classroom Connection Program is expanding. Now, first graders in Title 1 schools can expect new visitors throughout the school year.
"The teachers are so excited about having someone they can call on and know that they're there to support them," said John G. Riley Principal Maurice Stokes.
John G. Riley Elementary School is a Title 1 school that's benefiting from the Classroom Connection Program.
"We still believe in the adage that it takes a village to raise a child," said Stokes.
Stokes said he's grateful for the Classroom Connection program because it gives his kindergarten and first grade classes an extra set of hands and a voice to encourage them.
"Making sure that students have a birthday gift you know even if its something relatively small like having that extra support is important for our teachers," said Stokes.
This is the second year that the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce, World Class Schools and local businesses are working to support Title 1 Schools. This school year the program is expanding to now include first grade classrooms.
Dana Noles is the Vice President of Community & Corporate Advancement at the chamber of commerce. According to Noles, the first year of the program was highly successful with more than 100 businesses participating. Now, the hope is to see the program expand each year.
"By year four we hope to have business sponsors in kindergarten through third grade, to help across the spectrum from kindergarten readiness to reading scores," Noles said.
Businesses in Leon County and beyond can sponsor a kindergarten or first grade classroom by providing things like school supplies, snacks, and being an extra support system for students.
"We want to give back in the communities that we live and work in," said Greg Jaap, Executive Vice President of Brown & Brown Insurance.
Greg Jaap is the Executive Vice President at Brown & Brown Insurance in Tallahassee.
He said this is the second year they participated in Classroom Connection and nothing feels better than celebrating birthdays and reading stories to our future leaders.
"There was a ton of smiles, there was a ton of laughs and by the time we left everyone is giving out hugs," said Jaap.
Building relationships that will last a lifetime.
"The kids are so excited to see our business partners as they walk through the door knowing that that's another adult that they can just receive love," said Stokes.
There are currently 14 Title 1 schools in the Leon County district. Only 7 of those schools are part of the Classroom Connection program, the goal is to get all schools sponsored. To participate in Classroom Connection that information can be found on The Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce site.