In 2016, ITC was contacted by a Lane Cove local (and school teacher)Natalie Panzarino about a programme she and her friend Lauren McCormack Sundstrom created called Got a Pen. They created Got a Pen, with a goal to distribute stationery to children who don’t have basic stationery supplies for school. Natalie wanted to start Got a Pen after seeing so many of her students come to school without even a pen or pencil. Read more about why Natalie started Got a Pen here.
There really is no such thing as free education in Australia. Parents have to pay for uniforms, books, stationery, school camps, reference materials and other associated costs. The financial burden on families has increased since the Federal Government abolished the SchoolKids bonus. With this in mind, the Got a Pen programme is a simple but incredibly helpful way to ease the burden on some families.
Since Got a Pen launched, several surveys have been conducted, by well-regarded organisations, which support Natalie’s observations as a teacher.
Last year the Australian Education Union published the Australian Education State of Our Schools research report. This report revealed that 93 per cent of teachers use their own money to purchase supplies for their school or students and 25 per cent of those (mostly primary teachers) – spend more than $1000 a year. Incredibly, 78% of teachers buy stationery.
The Smith Family recently released a survey report revealing that almost two thirds of Australians believe school costs are unaffordable for many families.
In the Cove was so impressed by Natalie and Lauren’s passion and commitment that we came on board as a Director of Got a Pen. At the same time Amanda White, a UTS Lecturer, joined the board.
What Does Got a Pen Distribute?
Got a Pen distributes stationery kits to schools located in lower socio economic areas in Sydney.
Since 2016, “Got A Pen?” has distributed close to ten thousand basic stationery kits to children right here in Sydney, which not only enables them to complete in-class activities, but also to have the opportunity to do their homework.
“Feedback from schools is that we are making a real difference. From something that started in my own classroom, and with help from some fellow mums has really taken off, I am so pleased to know that kids are getting tangible benefit from what we are doing.” says Nat Panzarino, co-founder. “While it doesn’t solve the issue of systemic inequality, stuff to call their very own goes at least some of the way towards closing the gap for these students.”
Stationery Kits are prepared for both primary and secondary schools.
- Pens (Blue/Black/Red)
- Pencils (small for primary and larger for secondary see video below)
- Pencil cases
- Rulers (15cm and 30cm)
- Pencil sharpeners
- Glue sticks
- Colour pencils/textas
Got a Pen is particularly low on stocks of pencil cases, scissors, sharpeners and glue sticks and if you are looking to donate some items, Got a Pen would really appreciate those particular items for the 2019 back to school working bees.
Lane Cove’s Amazing Support
Lane Cove has been amazing in supporting Got a Pen, the Lane Cove Council has facilitated working bees by donating the use of the Lane Cove Council chambers ante room.
Lane Cove Storage King has been so generous with their support. They have donated a storage unit free of charge (being able to access the storage unit 24/7 with a code is so helpful). They have also donated Storage King boxes, tape and their delivery truck. Thank you to Peter Donadel and the friendly staff at Storage King Lane Cove (they are located in Lane Cove West Business Park).
Lane Cove parents and kids attend local working bees and help put together the stationery kits.
Kids love putting together stationery kits. School kids know how they would feel going to school without a pencil case. ITC remembers how exciting it was to have a new pencil case and to put your name on it and then fill it with your new pencils and pens. It may seem simple but even a new pencil case with all the required stationery items helps with self-esteem and fitting in.
How Can Lane Cove (further) Help?
Shop for stationery online and have the purchases delivered to Got A Pen – 23b Austin Street Lane Cove NSW 2066
Donate via Got a Pen’s Website
Attend or arrange for your kids to attend a working bee at Lane Cove Council Chambers (room located at the back of the Lane Cove Council building with access via the car park on the level near the Lane Cove Aquatic Centre)
Tell your friends (who live outside Lane Cove) they can Purchase items or vouchers and drop them at designated points across Sydney
Post this article to your personal Facebook page to raise awareness (copy link here)
Thank you, Lane Cove, for your generosity and support.
Do you have a local issue you would like help with? ITC is here to help just email us at [email protected]
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