The Collision Repair Education Foundation has launched the “Collision Classroom Campaign” to assist auto body vo-tech schools with the purchase of new furniture for their classrooms.
The campaign’s goal is to get 500 collision repair facilities to donate $500 (tax deductible) each to the Foundation. Each donation will stay in the donating shop’s state to help a school in its area.
The state of most auto body vo-tech schools’ classroom furnishings is pretty pathetic. For example, the classroom desks at Forbes Road Career & Technology Center in Monroeville, Pa., were “hand-me-downs” from the business department years ago. Giving this school and others around the country brand-new desks and chairs would inject new life into the collision programs.
“The new governor of Pennsylvania has just cut $1.1 billion from education. These cuts have trickled down to the classroom and our budget for vocational education as well,” says John Lyman, collision repair instructor at Forbes Road Career & Technology Center in Monroeville, Pa. “It will take many years to recuperate from this deadly financial blow. My classroom tables and chairs need to be replaced now, but there are no funds available to do this. The students need proper tables and chairs so that they can be comfortable while learning. This would eliminate some problems with classroom behavior.”
Brandon Eckenrode, associate director of development for the Foundation, has seen firsthand the deplorable condition of the furnishings in auto body vo-tech schools.
“One thing I’ve noticed traveling the country is that many of these schools are in serious need of new classroom equipment,” says Eckenrode. “The important thing to remember is that these students not only receive education in the school’s body shop but also in the classroom, so proper conditions in the classroom are just as important.”
Eckenrode is confident that the Foundation, with the help of many charitable shops that understand the importance of investing in the industry’s future, will achieve its goal.
“The Foundation has been extremely successful in helping to assist secondary and post-secondary auto body school programs with in-kind product donations everything from safety glasses to mechanic’s gloves to waterborne equipment through our donors,” he says. “These instructors whose budgets have been significantly reduced are almost moved to tears when they call us to say thank you.
“Through inter-industry members and businesses making $500 tax-deductible donations to the Collision Repair Education Foundation, we can provide a school’s auto body classroom with a set of two brand-new chairs and an activity table that will accommodate two collision students. We’ll also work toward keeping donations local, so if a $500 donation comes from an industry member in Missouri, those funds will go toward supporting a Missouri school’s auto body program. Together, we can help transform entire auto body classrooms and make them the envy of the entire school.”
For questions about donating, contact Eckenrode at [email protected] or (847) 463-5244. To donate online via PayPal, visit www.collisioneducationfoundation.org.