5 Ways You Can Help Fund Your Child’s School Without Spending Extra Money

BY: - 25 Jun '12 | Parenting

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Schools across the country are severely underfunded. To add insult to injury, year after year budgets are being slashed even further and some school districts are even considering shortening the school year to compensate for financial woes. What if I told you that there was a way that you could help provide extra money to your child’s school without spending any extra money in the process? Would you be interested?

This process would not include hustling candles, frozen pizzas, magazine subscriptions or cookie dough to your coworkers. This process would not include walking your child from door to door while trying to escape stranger danger at every turn. This process would not have family and friends running in the opposite direction when they see you or ducking your phone calls.

What I’m talking about is the Box Tops For Education program (BTFE). Families across the country have been clipping box tops from products that they already buy and have in their cupboards and pantries. They turn the box tops into the schools and the schools turn them in for cold, hard cash. Up to 20 thousand dollars per school, per year. Last year the total amount paid out to schools by Box Tops For Education was in the neighborhood of 74 million dollars. I repeat 74 million dollars.

The sad part of this is that the program isn’t being used to it’s fullest potential in black communities and our schools often need this money the most. To make matters worse the schools in black communities who do participate normally do well so why don’t we take advantage of this program like we should?

For this very reason Ronnie and I have partnered with General Mills’ Box Tops for Education program in an effort to spread the word in the black community. We are dedicated to ensuring that our children get their cut of that 74 million dollar pie.

Recently I attended the National Box Tops University in Minneapolis, Minnesota and was blown away by the event. Local coordinators representing schools from across the country came out pumped up and ready to learn how they can earn even more money for their schools. Imagine a huge convention center room flooded with people pumped up about equipping kids with what they need to learn.

During National Box Tops University, I listened to keynote speakers and had conversations with school coordinators from across the country. They graciously shared their tips on what worked best for them. Below is a list of five ways you can begin earning money for your local school in order to help them fill the gap.

1. Clip Box Tops:

Yes it’s that simple. Clip your box tops and find out when your school collects them so you can submit on time. If your school isn’t involved in the Box Tops For Education program you can register them on the BTFE website and become the school’s coordinator yourself. If you look in your home you’d be surprised how many box tops are waiting for you to clip them. For a complete listing of participating brands check the Box Tops website here: http://www.boxtops4education.com/earn/clip/Brands.aspx

2. Run a Contest at Your School:

Once BTFE is up and running at your school, having a contest is a good way to generate buzz about the program. Some schools award individual students, some choose classrooms or some even choose entire grades. I heard from several successful coordinators who ran contests and they really offered a wide array of prizes. The prizes ranged from pizza parties for the winning classroom to dunking the principle in a dunking booth. The bottom line is don’t be afraid to get creative and don’t be afraid to just ask the students what they’d like.

3. Start a Competition: School vs. School:

You can also take the competition outside of your school. To get school spirit going and box tops coming in, try a friendly competition with another local school. The final goal is to see who can collect the most box tops but you’ll have plenty of fun in the process.

4. Go Shopping Online:

Did you know you can earn box tops digitally? If you shop at stores like Macys, Apple, Target or Kmart you can earn box tops for each purchase. Imagine if all of the parents at your school bought their items through the BTFE marketplace. How many additional eBoxTops would you earn? The best part is you don’t even have to count them and send them in. They’ll be deposited to your schools account automatically.

5. Spread the Word:

One of the easiest ways to earn extra money for your school is one of the oldest. Just spread the word. Let others in your community know that you’re collecting the box tops. One coordinator shared how after a feature in a local newspaper a woman dropped off a huge amount of box tops to the school. She had been collecting them but didn’t have a school to hand them over to until she saw the article. I spoke with another woman who said her grandmother saves all of her box tops in a coffee can and ships them to her twice a year to help the grand-babies. Just remember there are box tops in the homes of your family and friends just like they’re in your home so don’t forget to ask.

I hope this list proved helpful to you. In the upcoming months we’ll be providing more information on how you can take advantage of this awesome program to help fund our schools. We hope that you’ll join us in making a difference.

BMWK family are you already collecting box tops? Are you a coordinator? What works well for you and your school? If you don’t already will you begin now?


Disclaimer: We are national spokesbloggers for the General Mills Box Tops For Education program. General Mills covered travel and expenses for my trip to National Box Tops University. All words and opinions expressed here are voluntary, honest and my own.

About the author

Lamar Tyler wrote 2229 articles on this blog.

Lamar Tyler is co-creator BlackandMarriedWithKids.com. He also is the co-producer of the films Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage, You Saved Me, Men Ain't Boys and Still Standing.


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12 WordPress comments on “5 Ways You Can Help Fund Your Child’s School Without Spending Extra Money

  1. Ronnie Tyler

    Lamar and I have become sooo serious about our box top collections. Somebody threw away a box that had a box top on it the other day…Needless to say there was a lot of commotion in this house as we tried to figure out who did it!!! lol

  2. Pingback: Creative Ways To Help Fund Your Child’s School Without Spending Extra Money - The Black Busy Mom

  3. Cheryl

    Since we have 2 different schools to send box tops to, we clip tops and send to one and the other school gets the box tops from online shopping.

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Is Home Schooling the Best Option for African American Children?

BY: - 26 Jun '12 | Parenting

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My wife recently sent me the article, Home schooling: Why more Black US families are trying it, and I checked it out. The article named school violence and school system’s labeling of children, i.e. ADHD or learning disabled, as the two primary reasons that more African Americans are choosing to home school their children.

As parents of a young child, living in a inner city, that has it share of “school problems”, my wife and I are always talking about and looking into options for our child’s education. The public schools in our neighborhood are not really an option and the $27,000 private schools in our area, are not an option I want to take, smile. But I never really considered home schooling. In fact, I was pretty much against the idea.

In my opinion, homeschooling was an option for the affluent, it deprives kids of the chance to play sports and the kids have a hard time socially dealing with other kids. But then this article pointed out notable exceptions to each of my reservations. First their was Sonya, the government employee and single mother that wasn’t wealthy but decided to homeschool her son. Then their was, Tim Tebow the NFL quarterback that was homeschooled, still played high school sports and has become one of the most popular football players of our time. And Whoopi Goldberg who as a comedienne, actor and talk show host, I think is probably pretty “socially adjusted”.

So at this point, now I am listening and wondering – is home schooling a viable education option and why are more black families going that route?

So I spoke with Joyce Burgess, co-founder of the National Black Home Educators (NBHE), as she prepared for the 12th Annual NBHE Conference this weekend. Talk about a wealth of information! In addition to co-founding the organization, she has also home schooled her own 5 children over the last 23 years – all of which are very successful in their chosen fields. Here are some of the benefits she cited for African American home schoolers:

1. Family Togetherness. We are losing a sense of family in our community, in large part to the messages taught in our public schools and the influences our children are being exposed to.

2. Nurturing environment. Parents can provide a environment catered to their child’s needs that kids do not get from their public school, at the same level.

3. Values. Parents retain the control over the values instilled in their children as opposed to the school “system”.

4. Gang violence and drugs. In many cities, our schools have become inundated by the crime, drugs and gangs that surround that school.

5. Special needs. Teachers in the 1 teacher, 30 student classroom setting often don’t have the time or resources to focus on each child individually. She shared a story of a young girl that was punished and labeled as a behavior problem, because she would not sit still. It turned out that she was too young to articulate that she could not see, and her not sitting still was a desire to sit closer to the front of the class, so she could see.

6. Focus on education. According to Joyce, because of the failures of the education system, we are seeing African American boys as early as 14 and girls as early as 16 years of age, dropping out of public schools.

7. Sense of history is being lost. Beyond Martin Luther King, their is a wealth of “Black” history that is never taught in a public school system that can be used to shape young African Americans.

8. Home schooled children are in high demand by colleges. Mrs. Burgess shared that, “from your Harvard’s to the local Junior College” home schooled children are in high demand because of their preparedness to enter and excel at the college level.

To me these are pretty compelling arguments, especially those that speak to educational advancement and self-awareness, but I still have some questions.

What ways do you give a home school child the social skills to be prepared for life if they are not around other children their age, all day.

Joyce suggested that whether a child is home schooled or goes a more traditional route, a parent must be proactive in preparing a child socially for adulthood. Some of the suggestions offered were to involve children in local community sports programs. Some states also allow home schoolers to participate in their public school sports programs. Children also are a part of their local neighborhoods and local churches, which provide activities and opportunities for children to interact with other kids their age. She also recalled how her own children partook in college internships, worked on political campaigns and had foreign students stay with them in the their home.

The last question, I needed to address was that of cost. How much does it cost to home school a child?

According to the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSDLA), which is an advocate for parents that choose to home school their children, the average cost is about $500, but in many cases could even be far less than that. At $500 a year, home schooling is far less than private school and more than public school. There should also be an expectation that at least one parent will have to spend time at home teaching that child.

I must admit after talking with Joyce and researching home schooling options for myself, I consider it a viable and very possible option for my own child. Of course we are just scratching the surface of the benefits of home schooling, to find out more go to www.nbhe.net.

How about you, BMWK family, do you think that their are benefits to African American’s receiving a home school education?

About the author

Edward Lee wrote 68 articles on this blog.

Edward is a husband, father, founder of Elevate Your Marriage Marriage Coaching, author of three books: "Elevate Your Marriage", "Husbands, Wives, God" and "Husbands, Wives, God Weekly Devotions." He is also the Pastor of LongView Bible Church in Owings Mills, Md. Visit Edward's blog at: elevateyourmarriage.com


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