Lincoln Heights teacher brings in over $15K in donations, LAUSD launches donation partnership

LINCOLN HEIGHTS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- In a special assembly, a $15,000 donation was presented to Gates Street Elementary School in Lincoln Heights, the money coming from donorschoose.org.

"Donors Choose has done wonderful things for teaching. It's just brought so much more activities that I have in the classroom," said Diane Yokoyama, a second-grade teacher at Gates Elementary.

The organization allows people to donate directly to specific school classroom projects created by teachers.

At Gates Elementary, that $15,000 donation was made possible by Mrs. Yokoyama.

She uses the Donors Choose to get materials for her classroom and pay for projects that the school can't afford.

"I have a lot of materials that I already have provided, but it kind of goes up and beyond," said Mrs. Yokoyama. "It helps me get materials."

Since 2005, Yokoyama has had over 400 projects funded, totaling to over $160,000.

"It's thanks to all of these wonderful donors throughout the country who donate selflessly," said Mrs. Yokoyama.

At the assembly, Mrs. Yokoyama was recognized for ranking as the number one teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District -- and one of the top three in the nation -- for getting classroom projects funded.

"Just a wonderful opportunity for me to write projects and for teachers to write projects for the needs of the students and their classroom," said Mrs. Yokoyama.

Now, the district and the organization have started a partnership. Donorschoose.org will match any donations for LAUSD projects.

As for Mrs. Yokoyama, she still remembers her very first project that was funded for headphones.

"I brought the boxes to school and when the kids saw the boxes they were like, 'Oh my goodness, what did you get?' and just seeing their look on their face was so exciting." Said Mrs. Yokoyama. "It was like Christmas every single day."
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