Realtors collect $18000 in school supplies

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–>Realtors Association of Maui member and Wishing Well  . . . for Maui Students founder Sarah Sorenson poses with a few of the school supply-filled backpacks donated by attendees of the annual Presidents Circle Conference hosted by the National Association of Realtors Realtors Political Action Committee.

Realtors Association of Maui member and “Wishing Well . . . for Maui Students” founder Sarah Sorenson poses with a few of the school supply-filled backpacks donated by attendees of the annual President’s Circle Conference hosted by the National Association of Realtors’ Realtors Political Action Committee.

Hundreds of real estate professionals from towns and cities across the country convened at the Grand Wailea March 5 through 8 for the annual President’s Circle Conference hosted by the National Association of Realtors’ Realtors Political Action Committee. This year, conference attendees packed a little something extra in their suitcases: backpacks filled to the brim with school supplies for students on Maui, Lanai and Molokai.

The idea to collect the school supplies was conceived by Idaho Association of Realtors President Connie Fogle after she learned about the “Wishing Well . . . for Maui Students” program. Since its inception 10 years ago, the Wishing Well program has collected furniture, school supplies and other items with the goal of improving the educational experiences and opportunities for Maui County’s public school students.

Run entirely by volunteer Realtors Association of Maui members, the nonprofit organization has contributed more than $1.5 million in goods, services and cash donations to every school in Maui County.

RAM member and Wishing Well founder Sarah Sorenson was one of five recipients of Realtor Magazine’s 2016 Good Neighbor Awards. The awards program honors NAR members across the nation who have made a difference in their communities through volunteer work; Sorenson was the first winner from Hawaii.

Fogle, who was in attendance when Sorenson accepted her Good Neighbor award at a convention in November, successfully rallied support for the Wishing Well program through the President’s Circle Conference. It didn’t take much convincing: Conference attendees eagerly donated 133 backpacks filled with $18,000 worth of school supplies — running the gamut from pencils and pink pearl erasers to playground balls and scientific calculators — along with $2,700 in cash and gift cards.

These contributions will go a long way for Maui County students, said Sorenson, who was surprised to learn that the Wishing Well program had been chosen as a beneficiary. “I was shocked,” she said. “I was very honored when I realized this was the first time they’d reached out to a nonprofit.”

The Wishing Well program accepts donations year-round. Sorenson said many teachers have requested items that would help them in their classrooms. People looking to offload any new or gently used household or office items or who would like to purchase school supplies for the program, may call Sorenson at 283-3969. For more information about the program or to make a PayPal donation, visit www.ILoveMauiSchools.com.