While some celebrities use their Instagram accounts to flaunt their glamorous lifestyles, Kristen Bell is using hers to advocate for charitable causes.
Notably, every Friday, the actress has been sharing a #FeaturedTeacherFriday Instagram post, introducing her 11 million followers to a teacher. She posts a link to that teacher’s classroom Amazon wish list in her Instagram profile and encourages her followers to donate supplies to the teacher’s classroom.
Many of the teachers Bell chooses to feature work in low-income communities. According to Veronica Landa, a sixth and seventh grade Spanish teacher in New York who was featured on Bell’s Instagram in July, the supplies that she’s received from Bell’s followers have been life-changing. Within a few days of Bell’s post, Landa’s wishlist was almost completely fulfilled.
“I was speechless … I’ve always had an Amazon wish list with the things I wanted for my students but never did I believe this would happen,” she told Good Morning America.
Here’s what Bell posted about Landa and her students in her #FeaturedTeacherFriday Instagram post:
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Happy #FeaturedTeacherFriday 📚everyone! I know it’s summer break, but teachers still need school supplies and I really love doing these posts! So please meet Veronica! “My name is Veronica Landa and I have been working at Turtle Hook Middle School on Long Island, New York as a 6th and 7th grade Spanish teacher. These three years have truly been the greatest years of my life! I am very passionate about teaching a diverse group of students and strive to make a difference in their lives. Attending graduate school two nights a week has also helped me grow as a teacher and provide the best education for my students. My school is a Title 1 school. The population mainly consists of African American and Hispanic students. The majority of the students at THMS are economically disadvantaged and come from low-income families. Students are also given free breakfast and lunch. Many of my students struggle to afford books and other resources needed to succeed academically. Every day I strive to teach, guide, and support my students to become successful individuals. As a Spanish teacher, students are learning to engage in conversation and expand their knowledge about other cultures in the world. Creating a multicultural classroom teaches students to embrace and respect other cultures. I also incorporate a lot of technology games and videos in my classroom to motivate and engage my students throughout each lesson. This opportunity would help me incorporate books to expand my Spanish library and enhance students’ reading comprehension skills. My students will also be able to improve their speaking and writing skills and knowledge of the Hispanic culture. I truly love teaching Spanish and enjoy learning about my students each and every day. Any help would be greatly appreciated!” Her wishlist will be in my bio. Love you guys. 🧠📚💪🏻
Among the items Landa received were Spanish books and a laptop that will allow her to track her student’s data electronically, rather than by hand.
“I’m really happy because it’ll really benefit my students and that’s my number one goal,” she added on Good Morning America. “I can change my entire curriculum and implement the books and everything else I’ve received.”
Most recently, Bell featured an Austin-based teacher named Lanie Matula, who says she personally purchases everything from supplies and backpacks to clothes and snacks for her low-income students.
Matula says she also provides acceptance, empathy, and kindness to all of her students and hopes to start a GSA (gay-straight alliance) at her school next year.
In the Instagram post, she writes, “It’s important to me that students have reassurance that it’s okay to be ‘different.’ This year I had a student tell me they were scared of life and who they were until they found out I was a lesbian. She said I made her realize that she wasn’t weird and that something wasn’t wrong with her. She said that reassurance saved her life. If I can save one child’s life, that’s enough for me.”
See the full post about Matula and her students below:
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This #FeaturedTeacherFriday 📚we are headed to Texas! Lanie’s attitude of compassion & inclusivity is amazing. Here’s her story: “I was born and raised in Austin, Texas! I have been teaching 4th grade for 5 years and I love every minute of it! My students are my world! They are loving, caring, compassionate, inquisitive, and sometimes hyper! As a class, we build a community so we can rely on one another. We build trust with restorative circles and hold each other accountable for our actions! I work with a very diverse population and most students come from low-income families. The schools I’ve worked at are Title 1 schools, meaning that they receive federally funded support. For some of my students, school is the only place they will receive a meal and have as a safe space with someone to trust. Throughout the year I personally purchase my students supplies, backpacks, coats, clothes, books and snacks. While my students are my family, I’m also very proud of the family my wife and I have built. I am out to my students and their parents, and while it’s been challenging at times, it’s worth it. It’s important to me that students have reassurance that it’s okay to be ‘different.’ This year I had a student tell me they were scared of life and who they were until they found out I was a lesbian. She said I made her realize that she wasn’t weird and that something wasn’t wrong with her. She said that reassurance saved her life. If I can save one child’s life, that’s enough for me. This next year I will be starting a GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) at Howard Norman Elementary in Hutto, TX for any and all that would like to join! I want to make sure students have a safe place to go to. All kids need to learn about acceptance, empathy, kindness. With the GSA and in my classroom, all of these things will be taught! Thank you for any and all help!” Lanie’s wishlist will be in my bio. Oh, and I love you guys. 💗💪🏻🧠📚
For anyone interested in donating to Mrs. Matula’s wish list, you can find it on Amazon.
Bell, who has two children, started her project highlighting teachers last September in a series she did with the hashtag #10featuredteachers.
We think it’s so great she’s using her influence to help teachers — and through them, kids and schools.