Join the #WhyISchoola Movement & Win!

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Join the movement and raise awareness for how enrichment programs are disappearing from our schools due to underfunding. Share your favorite school memory on social media for a chance to win a $50 gift card to Schoola March 1 – 31, 2016.

Join the movement–here’s how:

  1. Post your favorite school memory and how it shaped you on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram.
  2. Use the hashtag #WhyISchoola.
  3. Tag Schoola on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
  4. Bonus points for including a photo in your post!
  5. Below are a few examples!

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When: March 1 – March 31, 2016 at 11:59PM PT

Prize: We’ll select 5 winners to receive a $50 gift code to Schoola. We’ll choose the winners on April 1 and notify them by commenting on the winning posts.

Restrictions: You can enter the contest as many times as you’d like, but you can only win once. Your $50 prize code can’t be combined with any other codes and is only valid for one-time use. Not valid on new-with-tags items.

Have questions? Email hello@schoola.com.

Thanks for saving programs that help kids reach their full potential!

Make the Most of Your Spring Clothing Drive

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Maybe it’s frosty in your neck of the woods, but spring is in the air and your school year will be wrapping up in a flash. Now is a great time to book a clothing drive – you can take advantage of the season change (spring cleaning can mean lots of new inventory for your school!) and these items will be listed just before the end of the school year, providing earning potential all summer long. Here are some tips on scheduling drives and what to donate to maximize your fundraising potential:

When to Book: Schedule drives seasonally, and book ahead:

  • Think about seasonal moments, whether it’s time for ‘spring cleaning’ and Earth Day, you’re gearing up for post-holiday end-of-year giving, or you’re jumping into a new school year.
  • Think of big events when parents will be at the school like Open House or performances, and have a drive that week with a drop-off at the event as well.
  • Our most successful schools hold 3-4 drives a year. Your Schoola coach can help you set up the right cadence for your school.

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What to Donate: You know the basics: we accept women’s and kids’ clothes, but here are some tips to help make your donations go the distance:

  • Only donate items that originally retailed for over $15. To maximize earnings for schools, we don’t accept any items below this price threshold – so to ensure that that the inbound shipping cost is as low as possible (this cost is deducted from your school’s earnings), please don’t send them in.
  • Don’t forget to donate shoes and handbags. These items sell for more, meaning that your school share is biggest for these bigger-ticket items.
  • We also accept men’s clothes for our Teen Boys section (no suits please!), as well as baby and maternity clothes.

Pick and Choose: Ask yourself these three questions when cleaning your closet:

  • Have I worn it in the last year?
  • Do I love it?
  • Does it fit?

If you are holding on to anything that is a “no” to any one of these 3 questions, consider donating them to Schoola – turn it into money for your school instead.

What are you waiting for? Reach out to coach@schoola.com to book a drive today.

Schoola Welcomes 60 Schools to the Millennium Club!

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The final fundraising period in 2015 was truly impressive and we couldn’t be more thrilled to finish the year by helping more than 22,000 schools raise funds with Schoola. Each fundraising period has exceeded the last and more importantly, the average that schools earn with each drive has continued to increase, showing the power of engaged parents, grandparents and communities to supporting their schools.

Now more schools than ever have raised $1,000 in a single 3-month period. So we are pleased to present The Millennium Club, 60 standout schools who received a check for over $1,000 this past earning period.

Here are some highlights from our Millennium Club schools:

  • St. Stephen Protomartyr School ran their first drive in October of 2015 and collected 185 bags of clothes! They are using their funds to support their Spanish program.
  • The French School, the only public French immersion school in St. Louis, MO, is putting all their funds toward their 5th grade trip to France. Talk about turning gently used clothes into an educational adventure!
  • Montclair Elementary (pictured above) activated their student body, getting students to volunteer as Clothing Drive Ambassadors. They helped make signs, pass out flyers and stickers and they even collected the bags from parents at drop-off so parents didn’t even have to leave their cars. Montclair’s ambassadors’ hard work has really paid offthey’ve raised over $3,000 to date. What a great learning experience for the students!

Think your school can reach Millennium Club status? We’re here to help. We asked some of our Millennium Club members for their favorite tips. Here are 3 easy ways to increase your earnings in the next fundraising period and year to come:

  1. Get the student body involved! Empower the students to take charge of the drive. Help them make flyers and posters that advertise the drive, and get them excited about helping with collecting and boxing up the donations.
  2. Make the clothing drive a learning opportunity. Teaching the students about the importance of giving clothes a second life will help them see the direct affect their donations have not only in supporting their school, but on the environment. (It takes 700 gallons of water to make a cotton shirt!)
  3. Utilize your Schoola Coach: Schoola has an amazing team of fundraising coaches with tons of knowledge and resources ready to help you every step of the way.

You can see a list of the top 10 schools from the Millennium Club below. We look forward to seeing what new milestones schools will hit in the next fundraising period!

Top 10 Millennium Club Schools:
Kipp Academy Middle School: $12,415.73
Granada Elementary: $9,980.33
Yick Wo Elementary: $4,255.53
St Stephen Protomartyr School: $3,965.93
St Justin The Martyr School: $3,626.01
Second Friends Preschool: $3,408.44
Laurel Elementary: $3,340.25
St Therese School: $2,655.30
Montclair Elementary: $2,523.58
St Ambrose School: $2,504.85

The Look of Love Contest: Win a Romantic Dinner for 2 & $50

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Wanna win a romantic dinner for two from Omaha Steaks and a $50 gift certificate to Schoola? It’s easy! Here are the details for our Look of Love Contest:

When: Feb. 5-Feb 14, 2016 at midnight PT

Here’s How:

  • Snap an outfit photo that you’d wear on Valentine’s Day, whether you’re celebrating with your sweetie, bestie, or whole family. Think pink and red, hearts, all that romantic stuff. For this contest you don’t even have to be wearing clothes you bought at Schoola!
  • Tag us on Facebook (@Schoola), Twitter (@Schoola), or Instagram (@Schoola2U).
  • Use the hashtag #SchoolaStyleVDay.
  • On Feb. 15 we’ll pick our fave photo.

What You Win: The winner will receive a Romantic Dinner In from Omaha Steaks and a $50 Schoola gift certificate. If you win we’ll notify you by commenting on your photo entry.

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You’ll win a Romantic Dinner In from Omaha Steaks!

Psst, if you haven’t already check out our ongoing #SchoolaStyle contest and learn how you can win $50 each week.

Questions? Ask in the comments below. We can’t wait to see your lovey-dovey looks!

 

Milestone for Malala: $100,000 to the Malala Fund Thanks to Generous Donors & Shoppers

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We’re thrilled to report that thanks to the thousands of donors and shoppers (including kids, parents, and corporations) that came together to support the Malala Fund through Schoola, we are sending $100,000 to support education initiatives in the most vulnerable communities in the world. Malala herself had this to say to all those who got involved to make this possible:

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  • 17 schools did clothing drives for Malala. 382 other schools are engaging in special projects and on their way to following suit.
  • 6,597 individual donors are cleaning out their closets to benefit the Malala Fund. Anyone can donate by mail by requesting a bag here.
  • Top brands Gymboree, Tea Collection, ModCloth and Athleta got involved by donating thousands of new-with-tags items—from kids’ clothing, to cocktail dresses, workout apparel and warm winter coats to be sold on our site to benefit the Malala Fund.

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Our founder, Stacey, cites this milestone as one of the most exciting for Schoola yet: “I couldn’t be prouder of the Schoola community today. Thanks to their incredible generosity we have received over 15 tons of clothing in the past 60-90 days all in support of Malala’s vision that every girl receive the education she deserves. Schoola’s mission is to help children realize their full potential—whether that means raising money to purchase basketballs in Boston or elementary school books for girls in rural Pakistan. I couldn’t be more thrilled that our community is embracing the idea of turning their used clothes into educational opportunities for girls. I hope this is the first of many $100,000 checks we write to the Malala Fund and other worthy causes advocating that children be given every opportunity to realize their fullest potential.”

$100,000 is a fantastic start, but it is far from over. You can get involved today by shopping one of these beautiful collections, donating, or sharing the live results tracker. More exciting opportunities to shop and do good will be announced later this spring.

Why Your Kids Will Never Outgrow Being Read To

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Guest Blog Post by  Ashley Eneriz

You already know the amazing benefits of reading to your child, and most parents try to squeeze in as many books as we can alongside a busy work, school, and activity schedule. When children finally master reading on their own, it is exciting to watch them become more independent in their reading. However, just because your child can read on their own does not mean it is time to ditch reading aloud time.

In fact, your kids might never outgrow the need and benefits that come from being read to.

Increase Vocabulary
A child can read independently at one level, but they can listen and comprehend at a higher level. While they might only be interested in reading early chapter books by themselves, kids will still enjoy listening to higher level books, such as “Chronicles of Narnia” or “Lord of the Rings.”

With read-aloud books, you are introducing them to bigger words and the right pronunciation. Children are able to ask what a word means or might defer the meaning through the context of the passage. It is much harder to understand a word meaning through context when reading independently because kids are more likely to get distracted by the sight of the unknown word.

Increase Book Love
Many children get turned off of books because their beloved picture books are then replaced by longer books packed with a lot of words. When it comes to being entertained, kids have a choice, flip on the TV/computer or read. Obviously the first choice is a much easier, passive way to be entertained, whereas reading takes work and time.

The more books children hear, the more their love for books increases. They are easily able to imagine what is happening in the story and are actively conjuring up images of the present story and predictions for the rest of the story. They subconsciously are making that connection that books are fun and entertaining. Be sure to further their interest in books by reading in an engaging voice, rather than a flat or monotone voice.

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Increase Interaction
“If I could only get them to talk to me!” This is the common cry among tween and teen parents. The once bubbly toddler who wouldn’t stop talking quickly transforms into the 11-year-old that mutters, “Fine,” when asked how her day was.

Reading aloud with your children, tweens, and teens can transform your relationship and increase your interaction with your child. Tweens and teens will probably not admit enjoying read-aloud time at first, but start with a thrilling mystery or the Harry Potter series, and you will have them hooked.

Books bring up a lot of things to discuss, rant about, disagree with, and so on. If you come across a controversial topic in a book, such as how “Of Mice and Men” essentially has assisted suicide, ask your kids their honest opinion. Remember, there are no wrong answers, and by listening and respecting their thoughts about a book, they are more likely to open up about other things they are going through or have on their mind.

How to Introduce Read Aloud Time in Your Home
For families with younger children, it is very simple to introduce a read aloud time. Pick a time or day and make it a regular thing. For example, Saturday morning breakfast can give you a good 30 minutes of read aloud time. Even 10 minutes each night after dinner will add up to over an hour of reading aloud time at the end of the week.

For homes with older children, tweens, and teens who are not used to being read aloud to, introduce the idea to them. Older children can even pick out the book, if they want. You can also use a book that will need to be used for a school project.

There really should not be any rules. Children should listen quietly, but they can keep their hands busy with doodling, coloring, Legos, or crafting. Some younger children even listen better when they are bouncing on a ball or small trampoline. Incorporating reading time during meal time also cuts down on distractions and chatter.

Making read-aloud time a common occurrence in your household will take some effort on your part, but it will quickly become cherished family time. Remember, great thinkers are not made through electronic devices, instead they are made through the pages of good books.

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Ashley Eneriz’s favorite school memory is reading her favorite books secretly under schoolbooks because the literary world was always more fascinating than what the teacher was saying. Thankfully she was never caught. She is now a mom of two daughters and children’s book author of How to Sell Your Sister for Fun and Profit and the Blondie McGhee series.

Refer 3 Friends in January & Get $25 to Amazon

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UPDATE: Those eligible should receive their Amazon.com gift card code via email by end of day Wed, 2/10. If you have any questions please reach out to hello@schoola.com.

Chances are you’re already chatting up your friends about your Schoola purchases, so you might as well make some credit for more clothes! In the month of January 2016, refer at least 3 friends and we’ll email you an Amazon.com $25 gift card code in early February to show our appreciation! Many of our Schoola followers have joined our referral program and are reaping the rewards–the best part is that schools still earn 40% of proceeds even when you shop with credit. The program is very simple and works instantly.

How it works: $20 for You. $20 for your Friend. 40% to Schools.
Each time a friend makes their first-ever Schoola purchase using your referral link, they’ll get $20 off their first order, and you’ll get a $20 credit for purchases over the next 60 days. We’ll apply it automatically and keep track of it in your Schoola account. And don’t forget that 40% of your pre-discount order total is going to schools. It’s definitely a win-win, so start referring and earning today! You can grab your unique referral link here.

Here are some tips for earning more referral credit:

Show off Your Schoola StyleWhen you wear your favorite finds from Schoola, post your outfit photos to your fave social media platforms. Don’t forget to include #SchoolaStyle and your referral link in your outfit posts to make it easy for whoever admires your style to get $20 off when they shop.  

Share With Your Community! – Share your referral link wherever you already connect with other parents – from parenting groups, Facebook groups, neighborhood listservs, book clubs, to church or sports teams, there are so many families out there that could benefit from shopping at Schoola and donating to support their school.

Pro Tip From Ana @ModMahana – Ana from @ModMahana is not only a #SchoolaStyle winner but also a whiz at our referral program. One of her pro tips is changing the link in her Instagram bio to her unique Schoola referral link. Check out her Instagram account and see her style all her free clothes she’s scored from Schoola.  (And peek at her #SchoolaStyle photos above.)

Send With Love – We know that grandparents and cousins love receiving emails with the latest family photos. Include your referral link in the signature of your email with a brief blurb about the benefits of the program to plant the seed of savings, and let them know they’ll be doing good while they shop.

Ready, set, go! Now you have all the tools and tricks to refer 3 friends this month!

Already a pro? Tell us about your tips for earring referral credits.

*Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards (“GCs”) cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.

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Gennifer’s favorite school memories were doing art and craft projects at her bilingual elementary school. The school subjects were taught in both English and Spanish and the class celebrated many Hispanic cultural events. She enjoyed crafting paper mache piñatas for Cinco de Mayo, making sugar skulls for Dia de los Muertos and creating Mexican fiesta lanterns with colorful tissue paper. Her love of handmade goods continues to this day and remains one of her favorite pastimes.

You’ve Made This Year the Best!

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When reflecting on the past year, and looking ahead to 2016, this has been the best year yet for Schoola because of the impact YOU have made on kids’ experiences at school. Thanks to you, we now have a community of more than 600,000 families working to support more than 20,000 schools across the country. And by shopping our site, you’ve given more than a million items of clothing a second life, and in turn given new life to underfunded programs at schools.

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Let’s take a trip down memory lane with some of our favorite moments from the past year and some of our most impactful community members:

Most Loyal Shopper
Our most loyal shopper placed her first order in 2013, and since then has placed a whopping 86 orders, making a huge impact for schools. You can make an impact and be rewarded, too. Here’s how you can get 30% off all your orders in January, February, and March:  Simply place your 3rd ever order of $25 value or more by Dec. 31, 2015 and we’ll email you a unique coupon code on January 4. Already placed 3 orders over $25? You’ll get a code in your inbox in the new year! (Please note, the $25 value is after discounts but includes orders paid for in both cash and credit.)

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Collin of Hip2Save, Top Referrer, ©Tamara Kenyon Photography

Our Superstar Referrer:
Have you “met” Collin of Hip2Save? She’s a dynamo mommy and couponista with a loyal community of likeminded people. She’s shared Schoola with an amazing 4,000+ people in 2015. Thanks to her, that means more schools served and fundraising for schools. You can take a cue from her and start sharing your referral link–just grab it here.

This is what Collin has to say about Schoola:
“I love that Schoola makes it so affordable to shop name-brand clothing for both my kiddos and myself… while also allowing me to contribute to local schools in my area. Such a neat concept!”

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Your clothes make more money at Schoola than at a consignment store.

Our VIP Donor:
Individual clothing donations can go a long way! As an example, our top donor has raised almost $800 for her school, with her clothing donations alone! So what are you waiting for? Request your free donation bag.

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The Schoola team delivers a check to Jefferson Elementary.

Most Up and Coming School:
Jefferson Elementary in SF has raised over $900 this fall simply by donating unclaimed lost & found items! This is a great way to do a quick, low-effort fundraiser. Simply reach out to coach@schoola.com for more info.

Champions for Change:
Over the past year, some of our favorite bloggers have shared Schoola’s mission with their communities to raise awareness for how you can make a difference by shopping and donating with Schoola. Above are just a sampling including blog posts from (clockwise from left): This Charming Life; Skunkboy Blog; Design for Mankind; and Cakies.

#SchoolaStyle Mavens:
We’ve had so much fun getting to know you this year by seeing your #SchoolaStyle on social media. Above are a few of our faves from across the Internet. Don’t forget to continue to share your #SchoolaStyle for a chance to win $50 each week. Here’s how.

Here’s to a great 2016, too!!

Free Holiday Printables!

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‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…Except you still have presents to wrap and one more person on your mile-long Christmas list! We’re here to help with free printable cards to go with your Schoola gifts and free printable DIY coupon card presents. More details below.

Trying to check off that last loved one from your shopping list? Instead of giving them something store-bought, try downloading these free printable coupon cards. Simply write in “gifts” you plan to give like washing dishes, babysitting, or backrubs. This is also a fun gift to have your kids give that doesn’t cost a dime. Maybe they can wash their grandpa’s car, or walk the dog. Get creative. Download here.

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Did you get things from Schoola as gifts for family or friends? Whether your items are benefiting schools or the Malala Fund, we have some handy dandy printable inserts you can fold and insert as a card. Print your free Malala Fund card here or your free school-donation card here. Let your friends know their gift is giving back–it’s like two gifts in one!

Happy holidays from the whole team at Schoola!

ENDED: Win $25 in Our Color Us Grateful Contest

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UPDATE: This contest has now ended.

We’ve partnered with Samantha Snyder, the illustrator behind the Attitude Is Everything coloring book, to do a fun coloring contest, a family-friendly activity perfect for the week of Thanksgiving. Here are the details:

When: Monday, 11/23-Sunday 11/29 at midnight PT
Prize: 3 winners will receive a $25 gift code to Schoola + a copy of the Attitude is Everything coloring book. (Please note, gift codes can not be used on new-with-tags items or in combination with other codes.)
What: Download the free printable “Gratitude is the Best Attitude” coloring sheet here, and color it to the best of your ability. Entries will be judged on creativity, and our favorite 3 will win.
How: Once you’ve colored the coloring sheet, snap a photo and share it on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, or simply email us at social@schoola.com. Here’s how:

  • Twitter: Tweet at @Schoola with the hashtag #ColorUsGrateful and a photo of your completed coloring sheet.
  • Instagram: Post a photo of your completed coloring sheet with the hashtag #ColorUsGrateful and tag @Schoola2U.
  • Facebook: Share a photo of your finished coloring sheet and tag @Schoola on Facebook with the hashtag #ColorUsGrateful. Please note that due to a Facebook technical glitch, sometimes it’s not possible to tag Schoola via mobile devices. In that case, don’t hesitate to email us your entry to make sure we see it (details below).
  • Email: If you’re having trouble with the above, please feel free to email social@schoola.com with a photo of your coloring sheet.

Winners: We’ll select three winners the week of 11/30. We’ll reach out to them on the social media platform they entered on.

Now that we’re done with the nitty-gritty contest details, let’s talk about Samantha, the creator of this fun coloring sheet. We were excited to virtually “sit down” with her to ask her a few questions about her childhood, and how it influenced her art. Hear it from her:

A big part of Schoola’s mission is helping raise funds for school programs like art, music, and P.E. that are often cut from school programs. Do you have a favorite childhood memory from school that really inspired you?
I remember my teachers always finding new ways and activities for us to use our imagination and creativity.  We didn’t have separate music or art teachers in elementary school, so my teachers had to try and bring those subjects in as best they could.  In 3rd grade our teacher had us write and illustrate our own stories in hardbound blank books (I still have mine today).  I loved coming up with my story,  but I remember enjoying coming up with the illustrations more.  It was then that I started telling people I wanted to be a storybook illustrator when I grew up.  Even though I explored different avenues throughout my life and have tried out different things, this dream was always in the back of my head.  And in a somewhat roundabout way, I have come to illustrate books, which kind of amazes me.  
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What advice would you give to a child pursuing an artistic or creative career?
For anyone who has a dream of pursuing art, I have just a few words of encouragement: Start where you are with what you have. We all have different experiences and opportunities growing up and we shouldn’t let that deter us from following our dream. I never took art lessons or classes when I was young and my materials consisted of a worn-down pencil and some notebook paper for most of my life. It wasn’t till after I turned 30 that I started any kind of formal training in art. You are never too old or inexperienced to start as long as you are willing to work hard and not be embarrassed or afraid to try. It’s all about your attitude.

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Tell us a little bit about yourself–when you’re not “doodling,” what are your hobbies?
Well, when I’m not doodling, editing, or working on my websites….I am busy taking care of my two kids (soon to be three!) with my husband. We keep things pretty simple. As a family we enjoy bike rides, exploring different places, and watching old TV shows on Netflix. I try to take a couple art classes every semester so I can eventually get my BFA and hope one day to have my MFA.   I enjoy reading (Stephen King books are my favorite), taking road trips (that hopefully end at Disneyland), and drinking Dr. Pepper (a horrible habit, I know).
Don’t forget to get your contest entries in before Sunday, 11/29. Have a happy Thanksgiving!