For far too many local kids, school supplies aren’t just notebooks and pencils. For them, a warm coat, a pair of socks, or even a toothbrush might be the difference that allows them to go to school ready to learn. That’s where The Little Bit Foundation comes in. Founded in 2001, the Little Bit Foundation now serves more than 11-thousand students in 38 area schools every week. In every school that they serve, there’s a Little Bit space they call “The Boutique.” And in that Boutique, there’s emergency items – coats, underwear, socks, hygiene items – anything that may come up as an emergency so that child can stay in school that day.
“I met a little boy who wore his dad’s leather coat with a broken zipper and when I gave him a coat that fit, he said, ‘my mom and my dad are going to be so happy I’m warm,’” remembers Rosemary Hanley, Executive Director and Co-Founder of The Little Bit Foundation. “Something changed in me that day, and I realized that children that live in our city didn’t have their basic needs met so that they can stay in school, be in school, and really focus on their education. So that’s really when the mission was born.”
And now, Little Bit is using its connections and expertise in another way: helping bring STEM learning to the classroom through a partnership program with Washington University and Maryville called MySciDo.