PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- It’s back-to-school time and not just for teachers and students but for Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad, too! 

For over a decade, Treasures 4 Teachers has provided teachers a “Creative Reuse Center” to buy new and used school supplies, along with plenty of freebies. This year, the organization has expanded from the home base in Tempe, by adding a new store at 91st Avenue and Indian School Road.

“We are surprising teachers at the very newest Treasures 4 Teachers location,” said 3TV’s Tess Rafols. “Let’s go!”

“It’s wonderful to be here at the Pendergast School District campus and to be open to all educators,” said Andrea Ellingboe, West Valley director for Treasures 4 Teachers.

“We have lots of teachers on this side of the West Valley, so this was really, really, really needed here,” said Dr. Lily Matos DeBlieux, superintendent, Pendergast School District.

While teachers shopped, Rafols asked them what they teach and how long they’ve been teaching. One teacher is starting her first year and another said she is starting her 34th year and is still smiling!

[READ MORE: Surprise Squad stories]

From teaching second grade to art and P.E., teachers from various schools shared how much they spend out of pocket during a typical school year. They credited their love of kids, passion for teaching and desire to make a difference in children’s lives as motivation for spending anywhere from two-hundred and fifty dollars to one-thousand dollars a year of their own money.

One teacher said Treasures 4 Teachers has been a savior because it makes it much more affordable to be a teacher.

At the end of each interview, Rafols revealed that Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad and Valley Toyota Dealers were there to thank them for their dedication. She paid for teachers’ purchases at the cash register and presented others with $100 gift certificates.  All the teachers were overwhelmed and thankful.

Before Rafols left, she had one more surprise. She told the lengthy line at the register all their purchases would be paid for by Surprise Squad. The crowd erupted into cheers.

“Now, I can’t wait to go back to just make something from all this! I’m so excited,” said a teacher with an over-flowing shopping cart of supplies.

“I believe that every kid gets one experience a grade level,” shared another grateful teacher. “I need to make it the best for that child, so that way, they want to be a life-long learner.”

Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad is sponsored by your Valley Toyota Dealers.


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