Gym teacher creates donation fund to benefit ECI students


A gym coach at Emanuel County Institute has begun a donation project through an online platform, DonorsChoose.org, in hopes of improving students’ classroom experience with new supplies and equipment.

David Hodges is now in his third year at the Twin City high school. He explains of the project’s origin, “When I first got here, we did not have a lot of physical education equipment. I was scratching my head trying to figure out how we could get money to afford equipment without doing a traditional fundraiser, and I found Donors Choose and thought I would try it out.”

Sure enough, Hodges posted a couple projects. Then, he had to simply wait and hope someone would donate—and people across the country did just that.

Some of the funds were used to purchase an iPad for his classroom, which he says will benefit students by “keeping up with data, learning from film study, and information-gathering.”

In addition, ECI was able to cut some of the start-up costs for its newly started wrestling team, thanks to donations received through Donors Choose. The latest dollars provided headgear for the team.

Right now, Hodges is requesting funds to replace damaged and outdated gym equipment. The school’s current soccer goals, badminton rackets, wiffle balls, and other equipment of the like are damaged beyond the point of use, restricting students’ ability to learn necessary fundamentals of physical education. The replacement of this equipment will help Hodges maintain a well-rounded physical education class in which students will thrive.

If you’re interested in donating, the process is simple. Go to donorschoose.org and enter “David Hodges” in the Find A Classroom To Support search bar. Any donation made now until December 1 will be matched two times (while funds last) by the Emerson Collective, a group partnered up with Donors Choose.

“We need all the support we can get. This is not guaranteed at all. We are constantly trying to improve our school so that we can improve the lives of our students. When we open the packages at school, I tend to open them in front of the students because it makes them ask me questions like, ‘Hey coach, what is that?’, ‘Did y’all pay for this?’, or ‘What are you going to do with that stuff?’” Hodges said. “I get to tell them that the stuff is for them to use and that it was donated to the school for them! Then, I get the best part out of it all—I get the joy of watching their faces shine with excitement. We are still a long way from where we want to be, but with each donation, we get a step closer.”

Hodges would also like people in the community to know they can give without going through Donors Choose.

“We are still in need of equipment that we cannot obtain through Donors Choose due to a price limit. If you feel led to give but don’t want to go online to do that, we would be just as happy to receive those blessings. Just drop it off here at the school and we’ll get it to the right place.”

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