Kristen Bell spotlights Boynton Beach teacher to help educators, students
Actress Kristen Bell is teaming up with GoFundMe to help teachers and students.
"I also know that those teachers use their own paycheck to make sure school is a happy and safe place for our kids," Bell said in her post.
"Did you ever expect it to reach a celebrity of that caliber?" asked WPTV Reporter Joel Lopez to Duane.
"Oh, absolutely not, are you kidding me?" Duane said. "I was quite shocked, to be honest with you."
This is Duane's fourth year at the elementary school.
He said the district provided about 300 books and through fundraising, he was able to raise enough money for almost 600 books.
"What I love so much about Mr. Duane is that his students, they make such strong connections with him. He's able to build relationships. The kids know that he cares about them," Citrus Cove Elementary Principal Dr. Natalie Cromwell said. "Also, the relationship that he has with parents, they know that their child is in a wonderful loving classroom environment that they can grow and thrive."
Duane's fundraiser raised money to buy comfortable seating for his classroom library.
"One of the things I noticed is that when I didn't have the carpet area for the kids and comfortable seating, the kids didn't want to read. But I started to bring in some chairs and the kids would fight over it just to get those seats," Duane said. "I realized not only do they want to sit in comfortable seats, but now they're more engaged in the book that they're holding."
Bell's Instagram page has 15.6 million followers.
"To be able to get that kind of exposure from someone as famous as Kristen Bell really has the potential to do amazing things for education across the country," Duane said.
Bell's partnership with GoFundMe and their education fund will support teachers like Duane who are striving to make classrooms a success.
"Are we seeing the impacts that the pandemic years had on children's literacy," asked Lopez to Cromwell.
"We absolutely did see the impact, but I think we're definitely in recovery phase now," Cromwell said. "We had to do a little bit of catch-up, but we are on a great trajectory."
Duane hopes to raise enough money through GoFundMe to buy a comfortable reading chair for each of his 20 students.
"Let's face it, kids do have challenges today and to be able to lose themselves in a good book really makes a difference," Duane said.
"If Kristen Bell is watching this, what's your message to her?" Lopez asked.
"Kristen, I want to thank you, first off for taking such a passionate interest in educators and in children. If we had more celebrities doing this, I can't even imagine the impact we have," Duane said. "I'm so grateful that you have a heart for children and that you want to make a difference in kids' lives, and it goes to show that just anybody, Kristen Bell or the neighbor down the street, can truly have an impact on kids."
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