Across the country, teachers regularly reach into their own pockets to buy basic classroom supplies like paper, pencils, crayons and notebooks.
But Las Vegas offers a free store – the Teacher Exchange – where educators can simply take what they need, right off the shelf. And teachers find it immensely helpful.
“I would not be able to do what I do now if there wasn’t Teacher Exchange,” said Tracy Hammond, an eighth-grade science teacher at Grant Sawyer Middle School.
Ten years ago, she learned about the discounted educational supply store, which serves as a reuse/repurpose/surplus resource center.
“I found out from a colleague that they would give you pencils kind of cheap,” Hammond said. “I went there and it’s not just pencils; it’s paper, supplies, folders, backpacks. It’s lab supplies, which as a science teacher I really love.”
Since 2008, Caesars Foundation and Caesars Entertainment have donated more than $1.6 million to the Teacher Exchange. Caesars also supports the store through its HERO program, with volunteers from local properties collecting school supplies and donations. The center’s mission aligns with Caesars goal to help create a more sustainable and equitable world with more opportunity for all.
Hammond visits the Teacher Exchange every week to fill her shelves with supplies for her students.
“I don’t think many people realize how many kids don’t have [supplies],” she said, adding some struggle to communicate needs to their parents, who have challenging work schedules.
She’s grateful she can provide her students with more resources.
“I would like to thank everyone at Caesars Foundation because honestly, it wouldn’t work as well in my classroom without their support,” she said.