Michelle Tebor, Founder, Silver Spring Creative Reuse
What is Silver Spring Creative Reuse?
Silver Spring Creative Reuse is a community grassroots project. We collect unwanted art and office supplies and donate them to local teachers for educational and creative repurposing. We believe that teachers should not have to pay out of pocket for materials that already exist for free in our communities. By diverting these materials from the waste stream and into our classrooms we are reducing our environmental impact and teaching sustainability to the next generation.
How did the idea come about?
I am passionate about art education, reusing materials and saving the planet. I encountered my first creative reuse center/teacher free store when I first started teaching art 16 years ago outside of Richmond, Virginia and the concept has always stayed with me. As a community we can do a much better job of using all of our resources wisely.
How did you get started?
I started on this journey last February, a little over a year ago. Working out of my basement with limited resources and space, I have collected, organized and redistributed 7,524 pounds (over 3½ tons) of materials and supplies to local classrooms.
How do you collect supplies? How are they distributed?
Interested donors typically contact me via email and supplies are usually dropped off at my home in Silver Spring. These items are then sorted and bundled into larger donations that are then a few friends and I drop donations off at local schools. Teachers either contact me directly seeking supplies or I will reach out to art teachers and ask if they are interested in a donation. The whole system is very hands-on, grassroots, and community based.
How can people help your organization? Do you need volunteers?
The easiest way to contribute to Silver Spring Creative Reuse is to donate supplies. If you are interested in making a larger commitment, we are looking for volunteer delivery/pick-up drivers and anyone with experience in the non-profit world that could help us grow this project. Oh…and on the off chance anyone reading this has a warehouse space (super cheap or free) for rent, we are looking to move this project out of my basement ASAP.
Where do you see SSCR in five years?
It is my dream to grow this project into a vibrant and exciting local non-profit. Silver Spring Creative Reuse will be a large physical space where teachers, students and artists can access an abundance of reusable and sustainable supplies for very little cost. In addition, we will offer education activities for students and outreach into our local schools.
Anything else you’d like to share or that folks should know?
Yes…feel free to reach out with any questions or comments on the work we are doing. We want to hear from our community! Email us at [email protected]
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