FULTON, Illinois - A social media trend is helping a local teacher cross items off of her wish list during this back to school season.
Nicole Van Zuiden, a first-grade teacher at Fulton Elementary School, is one of many area teachers being impacted by #ClearTheList - a movement that encourages online shoppers to help teachers purchase the school supplies they need to stock up on.
The entire process is very similar to a wedding registry.
Some educators use Amazon.com to create a "wish list" of items they hope to have in their classroom. Those items include books, pencils, crayons, hand-sanitizer, and some other unique things.
Then, online shoppers can gift items directly to the teachers once the wishlist is made public.
As Van Zuiden gears up for an August 21 back-to-school date, donors are stepping up and purchasing the things she wants and needs to have in her classroom.
She said that by August 14, she had already received more than $250 worth of gifts and was still anticipating more to arrive.
"There's an overwhelming joy to know that people care about our students, care about our teachers, and that people that I don’t even know, are willing to donate items for us," said Van Zuiden.
She said when students are able to learn in environments full of these supplies their "faces light up,"
The RiverBend School District does give teachers a small budget to help cover the costs of basic supplies, but typically, extra supplies are bought with money out of the teachers pocket.
According to a study by the National Center of Education Statistics, public school teachers spend an average of $480 per year on classroom supplies.
For Van Zuiden, who has two children of her own, buying extra supplies can be hard on her bank account.
Now, with the help of #ClearTheList, these gifts will be put to use in a classroom full of first-graders who will enjoy them in the year ahead.
To see Van Zuiden's Back to School Wish List, Click here and sign in.