Re-utilization with a Purpose, Giving Granada East Elementary a New “Look”
What do desks, chairs, and tables mean? To Granada East Elementary school in Phoenix, they are a blessing. As we moved out of our previous Downtown Phoenix office, the Raza Development Fund was proud to donate furniture to Granada East, a school dedicated to serving students in the 95% low socioeconomic population, over 80% of which are Hispanic students. The donation fell in line with the RDF mission and values: giving to those who need it most and knowing it would benefit education in our community bringing pride and joy to teachers and students.
Instead of folding tables, their staff now have professional desks and chairs. They even have a conference table for a future technology room for the students.
“We are humbled with gratitude and felt blessed to be in this position. The new furniture allows us to upgrade our look and present our best face forward and provide a more professional setting for our school and community,” Sulimar Medina, Outreach Coordinator for Granada East, says. “Plus, the furniture allows the students to take pride in a school that looks better.”
The staff, parents, and community members at this 5th – 8th-grade school, work hard to provide the students with as much as possible to keep them engaged.
“Our goal as an educational family is to provide our students with a superior, well-rounded, rigorous, caring education for all students to succeed in a competitive, global society,” Sulimar says. “They know they’re worth it!”
Finding the Right Home
In December of last year, Leonor Samayoa, RDF’s Manager of Services and Technology, and Marina White, RDF’s Front Office Administrative Assistant, took the lead on the details of our move. That included what to do with all of our office furniture. Together, they took note of what RDF did not need as we prepared to move into our new headquarters with a different layout. Then Marina went to work calling to find a new home, specifically a school, for the items.
Quickly, the RDF team connected with Sulimar, who stopped by to look at the conference tables, chairs, desks, and other office supplies.
“They were so excited. They wanted everything. They had nothing, no desks. This was going to be a huge help for them,” Marina says.
A hurdle stood in their way at first – finances. The school only had two custodians to help move what they could as hiring movers was too much of an expense, so they were originally only going to take a couple of things.
A bank with heart, RDF provided the school a $3,500 grant to help with moving expenses and ensure they picked up everything they needed and wanted.
Visiting the School
Fast forward a few months later, Leonor, Marina, and I were invited to tour Granada East during their Café event, a quarterly event the school hosts to connect with community members who can help support the school with various resources. We admired the murals and gardens they created to further beautify the school. We learned about other projects in the works like sporting courts, filling a library, and improving a ramada.
And, of course, we got to see RDF’s former furniture in use. The teachers and staff were filled with gratitude and excited to show off their new stuff.
“It was wonderful to see it all. Food for the soul,” Leonor says. “It’s only furniture, but it’s all part of that project they have to help the kids.”
“I feel so blessed that we had them come and pick it up and use it,” Marina adds.