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Sonic funds local teacher’s coffee bar project

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By The Staff

Sonic Drive-In surprised a teacher from Aspen Elementary School, Jennifer Washnok, with more than $290 in classroom project funding as part of their Limeades for Learning campaign.
Sonic recognized that public schools in New Mexico are experiencing some of the poorest chances for success among its students in comparison to other states due to factors such as the high poverty rate and low graduation rate, so Sonic decided to help out.
The lucky recipient, Washnok, teaches the Living Skills program at Aspen elementary, which includes eight students with multiple disabilities. The students work on communication, motor, social and emotional skills and real life academics. Washnok’s students run a coffee bar twice a month for the staff at Aspen Elementary where they take orders, collect money, and make beverages.
According to Washnok, “This project that we began this spring is very popular with the students and the staff.” Not only does the coffee bar provide beverages for teachers, it also helps the students learn basic accounting and business skills.
Usually, the supplies for the coffee stand would have come out of her own pocket. With the proceeds, Washnok’s students will be able to replenish their supplies, purchase additional equipment and provide free beverages to staff on their birthdays.
Jason Acock, communications manager at Sonic Drive-In, explained that Limeades for Learning is Sonic’s national initiative that started in 2009 to help public school teachers in local communities.
“One of the things we’ve noticed is teachers put so much effort into their day-to-day classroom activities and what we’ve found out is that they’re spending up to $500 of their own money every single year,” said Acock. Many teachers purchase things for their classrooms that will motivate their students and help them succeed and that amount of money can really put a stress on teachers’ lives.
Sonic partnered with donorschoose.org to give the essential funds to teachers across the country to help alleviate some of that financial burden.
According to Acock, “We really put the power in the teachers hands to submit what they want to get funded.” From there, it is up to the teachers’ imagination as to how they want to put the best materials in their classrooms to help their students succeed.
Washnok was ecstatic to hear the news and thanked Limeades for Learning for funding the coffee bar project. “These supplies will make such a difference in the program,” remarked Washnok.
Acock wants to encourage teachers in Los Alamos to go online and submit projects, which in turn, “will give us more opportunity to bring funds into the community and really help the students in Los Alamos get the best education they possibly can.” If any teachers want to submit their projects, go to limeadesforlearning.com.