Pencils of Promise

I taught school for 10+ years in a poverty stricken area and know first-hand that the littlest things in life (that most of us adult-types totally take for granted) can be a big dang deal to kids! That’s why as education funding gets cut year-after-year, I watch my teacher friends, dig deeper-and-deeper into their own pockets to scrap together enough change so they can give back to their own students by meeting their basic needs - from folders and notebooks to clothes, shoes, and even food. There were many mornings that I fed my students because they missed breakfast and had nothing to eat at home. Some kids even started the first day of school without a backpack or even a pencil. I provided those supplies for them and would do it again in a heartbeat.  

Pencils of Promise  |  Hello Giving  |  Hello World Paper Co. & Stamps

Teachers go the extra mile for their kids everyday and when I heard about Pencils of Promise….I was like “wow”…. Now that’s an organization I can really relate too! And guess what? The inspiration for this organization started with a simple, canary yellow, No. 2 pencil! Seriously!!!

Here’s the Scoop

Adam Braun was traveling through India and encountered a young boy begging on the street. He asked the boy what he wanted most in the world. He replied: a pencil. Yes…just a pencil. What a simple request. The young boy was elated when Adam dug into his backpack, found a pencil and presented it to him, smiling ear-to-ear. 

During the next five years, Adam globe-trotted to more than 50 counties in six continents and gave away thousands of pens and pencils. This experience sparked the idea for a non-profit to share educational opportunities across world. In 2008, Pencils of Promise was officially launched and has touched the lives of students, teachers, families and entire communities with the gift of education.

Check out these amazing accomplishments: 

  • 304 schools have been built since 2009
  • 319 teachers have been supported since 2012
  • 2,535 scholarships have been distributed since 2012
  • 5,040 students have been trained in WASH - a program that teaches students about hygiene, sanitation and water - since 2009

Because I am blessed to have wonderful customers who support my business, it is important for me to give back to charities that touch my heart. During September, I will donate 10 percent of Hello World profits to Pencils of Promise. Check out their website to learn more. Thank you for your business and for giving back with me! 

Since it’s back-to-school season, let’s also remember to get back to the basics and focus on what really matters. Remember that sometimes the most powerful tools are simple…like a trusty No. 2 pencil that inspires imagination, hope, creativity and joy in a child! 


Kelly Parker Smith


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