Outreach—the Oklahoma Way!
Every year, state Student Associations carry out the important work of Outreach to Teach in their own backyards.
By Ankita Rao
Aging hallways were transformed with colorful murals when the Student Oklahoma Education Association took over a school for a daylong Outreach to Teach event last March.
Over 150 SOEA members cleaned and painted bathrooms, classrooms and the school gym at a local Oklahoma City public school with the help of fundraising and donations.
“It’s a great statewide effort,” said Lauren Folks, president of the student organization.
Student Oklahoma Education Association members made a real difference for educators and kids at Pleasant Hill Elementary.
Folks has been president of SOEA since her sophomore year of college. Now that she is a senior, she said the professional organization has helped her connect with principals, teachers and other future teachers.
She and six other student officers divided the tasks for the event and were in charge of around 50 volunteers for each section. For their special project, the group planned a facelift for the Teacher’s Lounge.
“Teachers want to be proud of their workplace just as much as kids want to proud of their school,” Folks said.
In addition to painting, the volunteers organized storage rooms, built benches and donated balls for the gym. Folks said that SOEA tries to plan the event each year to fall on a school day so that the students can be involved.
“They walk through the halls and their eyes get big, and they get this big smile on their face,” she said.
“They’re so excited because someone cares about them.”