Impact Austin-Funded Materials Mobile Program Officially Launches
By Jennifer Evans, Executive Director
I'm delighted to share that after a successful pilot this fall - where we learned a lot! - we are officially launching the full Materials Mobile Program January 25, 2024! The full launch will include a new webpage for the program, a new online reservation system, a series of best practices, a graphics package and info sheet for schools to use to promote with their teachers, and much more.
After testing multiple vehicle options during the pilot this fall, we ultimately decided on a light duty truck plus enclosed cargo trailer combination that allows us the maximum flexibility, ease of use, and value for money. We designed and installed mobile shelving so that all materials could be easily loaded and unloaded from the trailer both at the schools and at ACR for restocking. Not only is a mobile set up safer for our staff and volunteers, and easier on their bodies, but it allows us to more quickly and easily set up the Materials Mobile at the school’s preferred location, indoors or outdoors. Quality shelving also makes it more comfortable for teachers to shop, particularly those with limited mobility.
The Materials Mobile was a big hit during its maiden voyage on January 8, 2024, when we took it over to the hardworking teachers at Decker Middle School. Decker is a high need school where 87.5% of the students are economically disadvantaged, 95% are students of color and 83.5% are considered at risk of dropping out of school. A visit from the Materials Mobile makes a huge difference for Decker's teachers and students as evidenced by the fact that Decker's principal requested January's repeat visit even before we wrapped up our initial visit to Decker as part of the pilot in August 2023.
We are also experimenting with a new funding model to make the Materials Mobile 100% free for all teachers and have just in the last six weeks already raised enough funds to cover twelve Materials Mobile visits to high need schools in the community.
We couldn't be more excited to fulfill our collective vision by making this incredible resource available to schools throughout the community this winter. Thank you for your continued support and enthusiasm for this program.
I also look forward to working alongside you all in a different capacity by joining a Grant Review Committee this winter.