The Founder’s Story
In 2004 Barbara Blalock was working for the Valley of the Sun YMCA as their Senior Regional Preschool Director. Her position was primarily designed to accredit the 13 YMCA preschools through The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
The challenge she faced was the fact that the preschools did not have the funds to purchase some of the needed items to meet the requirements of the NAEYC accreditation standards; items such as binders, desk trays, markers, staplers, tape dispensers and other expensive office supplies.
Barbara contacted Intel and asked if they had surplus office supplies that they would consider donating to the YMCA preschool programs. Intel generously began donating from their “Dump Your Junk” quarterly event. Barbara would gather these supplies, store them in her garage and go to each preschool and disperse the supplies.
It wasn’t long before other companies started donating. Motorola, The NFL and Goodrich jumped on board to donate their surplus supplies as they went paperless, downsized or closed offices.
Barbara’s garage was bursting at the seams so she decided it was time to make her dream come true of providing a “Reusable Resource Center” for teachers in Arizona called Treasures 4 Teachers.
In 2010 Treasures 4 Teachers had grown from the size of a 2 car garage to a 10,000 square foot warehouse full of resources for teachers. Unfortunately, just a year later during a bad monsoon season, the roof collapsed leaving the future of T4T uncertain. Reaching out to the communities and businesses that had helped to make Treasures 4 Teachers what it was, Barbara was able to move the organization to a 5,000 square foot warehouse and continue on. She began receiving a new influx of donations and today Treasures 4 Teachers is growing rapidly. The organization is currently seeking out a larger warehouse in order to accommodate the ever increasing generous donations from private and business donors and more space in which to provide the materials to an ever growing clientele of teacher members.
Barbara’s vision is to have several Treasures 4 Teachers across the state and eventually the country, in order to support as many educators as possible.