One of Tana Gilmore’s favorite things to do was reading to students through the HOSTS mentoring program at Shields Elementary.
After she passed away from kidney disease in July, granddaughter Amanda Kenefick sought a way to honor her memory.
“I had heard about #clearthelists, and I was thinking of ways to give back in her name and do something good because she was all about doing things for her community,” Kenefick said.
The viral campaign #clearthelists launched in July to encourage people to donate to a teacher’s Amazon wish list or GoFundMe page to help them supply their classrooms.
“On a yearly basis, teachers spend an average of $479 out of their own pockets on school supplies,” Kenefick said. “This is just not right, so I decided to create Tana's Tokens for Teachers.”
The Facebook page and group Tana's Tokens for Teachers allows teachers to post their lists and stories so people can donate items to their classrooms.
“I did this because no teacher should worry about having enough supplies,” Kenefick said. “They should be focused on educating and helping their students thrive, and we can all show them tokens of our appreciation by donating to their wish lists.”
Kenefick said her grandmother moved to Lewes in 2007 and was very active in the community. She volunteered with the Friends of the Lewes Public Library, Lewes Presbyterian Church Soup Ministry, Children’s Beach House and Lewes in Bloom.
“It’s great to support teachers any way we can, and I think my grandmother would be proud of my donations and that we have expanded beyond that.”
HOSTS mentor coordinator Dawn Hughes worked with Gilmore.
“As soon as Tana heard about our HOSTS program, which invites community members to work one-on-one with students in our lower elementary grades, she immediately asked if she could join,” Hughes said. “Tana began coming to Shields Elementary to volunteer once a week, every week, to work with many of our youngest students to help them on their way to academic success, and she became fully invested in the program and the students here at our school.”
Hughes said Gilmore volunteered with the program for several years.
“She patiently and gently worked with the students to whom she was assigned and encouraged them to do their very best,” Hughes said. “She loved to celebrate their successes, and, when a student was struggling with an academic skill, she loved to motivate them in a positive way, cheering them on until they became successful.”