Today we’d like to introduce you to Barbara Blalock.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Barbara. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
In 2004, I was visiting a 2nd grade classroom. The teacher asked her students to get out a piece of paper and pencil. I watched as a little 7 year old student named Sandy walked up to the teacher and gave her a shoe. The teacher quickly gave Sandy a pencil. After class, I asked the teacher why Sandy had to give her a shoe for the pencil, the teacher said because she didn’t have enough pencils, and this way she knew she would get her pencil back because Sandy wouldn’t leave without her shoe. That day, I knew she needed to do something so that students didn’t have to give up their shoe for a pencil. I started Treasures 4 Teachers a “Creative Reuse Center” specifically catered to teachers to get the supplies they need for free and low cost so their students can be successful. Today it is thriving in a 12,000 square foot facility in Tempe, Arizona.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
No, it was not always smooth and I think that it is primarily because there has been no one before us to model after. We had to pave our own way. The 2 main struggles we faced and continue to face is our rapid growth and teachers not knowing that we exist.
The organization started in a garage and is now housed in a 19,000 square foot facility busting at the seams with donations of school and office supplies for teachers. We need more teachers to know about us so that we can continue to move the materials into their hands.
Treasures 4 Teachers – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Our mission: “Treasures 4 Teachers provides free and low cost supplies to educators from the community’s reusable resources”
We specialize in school and office supplies, in addition to reusable materials that teachers can use in their classrooms.
We are known for our “$5.00” Fill-A-Bag concept. Teachers can fill as many bags as they need for only $5.00 each. This is a great value for them. Our second most popular area is our “FREE ZONE” where teachers can take as much free items out of this area that they need.
We are set apart from others because there are no others. Nobody is doing what we do in Arizona. We do have an affiliate in Tucson.
We are most proud of our company by knowing we are making a difference in the lives of teachers and the students they serve. Students are more successful in school when they have the tools they need for learning and we are able to provide that to them through their teachers.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I was a selected Executive Director for the Social Ventures Partners Fast Pitch event. I went through 6 weeks of training, mentoring and judging of crafting a pitch to tell my story in hopes of raising funds for the organization and bringing more awareness to Treasures 4 Teachers.
I won the Mentor’s Choice award which came with a $2500 grant, but in addition, a member in the audience that heard my pitch pledged $30,000 to the organization, and we had additional funds donated to the organization after the event because of my fast pitch.
I like to refer to the Fast Pitch experience as being on American Idol, the judging was grueling and the day of the pitches was stressful, but it is an experience that I will be able to take with me and use for the rest of my career; and my proudest moment in my career so far.
- Teachers pay a $35.00 year membership fee to belong to Treasures 4 Teachers
- Address: 3025 South 48th Street,
Tempe, AZ 85282
- Website: www.treasures4teachers.org
- Phone: 480-751-1122
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/treasures4teachers/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Treasures4Teachers.org/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/reuseit?lang=en
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/treasures-4-teachers-tempe
- Other: https://www.pinterest.com/azt4t/treasures-4-teachers/