Expanding Playgrounds and Encouraging Creativity in the Classroom

In Arkansas, a tornado swept through Washington and Benton counties in March 2022. It permanently damaged George Elementary School’s gymnasium and destroyed the outdoor playground equipment. In Southern California, Diamond Elementary School teacher Lynna Huynh sought to motivate her students through art supplies and materials intended for STEAM projects and activities. These supplies can be expensive though, and teachers are often left paying out of pocket.

Giving back to the community has always been at the heart of MIND's mission. We recognize educators' tremendous impact on student learning and are grateful for all the efforts these teachers and administrators have made to ensure their students have a brighter future. We knew there was a way we could help these schools.


The Paco Bazaar Gift 

Each time we gather for our organization-wide conference, MIND artists and designers create limited edition and one-of-a-kind art pieces to raise money for school projects. In May 2022, they sold these pieces during MINDShare, allowing their fellow MIND colleagues to participate in the fundraising effort.

When we started Paco Bazaar, we wanted to find a way to utilize our artists’ creativity to give back to the community. I personally have found so much joy when we go into the classroom and get to see firsthand how thankful the teacher is and how much the kids' faces light up when they see the gifts that JiJi brought for them. It is such a rewarding experience to be a part of.

Jo Zafra, Visual Designer at MIND Research Institute

With the money we raised this year, we were able to give to two different schools!

George Elementary’s Playground Expansion

On September 2, 2022, education and community leaders gathered to celebrate a gift from MIND to expand George Elementary School's playground. Teachers and administrators attended a school assembly for an exciting check presentation. JiJi showed up, and students could not have been more thrilled to see their beloved ST Math penguin pay them a visit. 

Playground Expansion

Check out this video to see how they celebrated: 

Diamond Elementary’s School Supplies

Lynna Huynh's students were thrilled by a surprise gift from JiJi. With more art supplies for their classroom, Lynna will be able to engage her students and create a more fun and exciting learning environment for them to thrive and express themselves creatively.

Paco Bazaar (1115)

All of these supplies will help students bring out their creativity and give them more opportunities they otherwise would not have….In the past, I have used my own money to purchase all the art supplies in my classroom, so I’m incredibly happy I can replenish them!

Lynna Huynh, Teacher, Diamond Elementary School

Thank you to both George Elementary School and Diamond Elementary School for continuing to make a positive impact on students. We're so excited to see all of the fun and creativity these new gifts bring! 

Interested in working with an amazing group of colleagues who give back to the community? Learn more about life at MIND!


Victor Nguyen

About the Author

Victor Nguyen is MIND’s Content and Community Specialist. Victor is a passionate storyteller with a penchant for creative writing. In his free time, you can find him engrossed in books, going on long hikes, or trying to meditate.


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