Teen boy outfit styled with Schoola clothing. An online thrift shop with gently used clothing at bargain prices. Proceeds fund school art and music programs.

This post is brought to you by Schoola

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Care about your school? Then this post is for you! Love thrift store bargains? Then this post is for you!

I’m delighted to introduce you to Schoola. It’s part online thrift store and part fundraising platform. You know how school programs like art and music and PE have had huge budget cuts, or been dropped altogether? Well, Schoola is focusing on saving and supporting those types of programs. When it comes to creating school budgets, “extra-curriculars” are often undervalued, but we all know that field trips and music classes and a great art program really make a big impact on the quality of our children’s education.

Teen girl outfit styled with Schoola - an online thrift shop with gently used clothing at bargain prices. Proceeds fund school art and PE programs.

This is how Schoola works: 1) Request a free donation bag. Or if you’re feeling ambitious, organize a school-wide clothing drive — any school in the contiguous US can participate! 2) Clean out your closet and fill the bag with gently used kids’ and women’s clothing. 3) Send the bag to Schoola and tell them which school you want to benefit. Oh. And the donation bag comes with a pre-paid shipping label, so there’s no shipping cost for you! 4) 40% of the proceeds from the sale of your clothing goes directly to your school to help fund programs like art, music, field trips and physical education.

Bonus step: shop Schoola, find awesome bargains, and know your clothing purchases are helping schools! Such a great way to make the most of your clothing budget.

Little girl outfit styled with Schoola - an online thrift shop. Proceeds fund school art and music programs.

My #WhyISchoola memory? Well, I could share a dozen. The “extra” things that happen at school were hugely formative for me. I remember learning in a 6th grade culture class that French people ate bread and chocolate together — pain au chocolat — and being completely mystified by the idea! Hah! It’s one of my first memories where I realized that there were lots of ways to live beyond what I’d experienced so far.

I remember many years of making posters and flyers for school dances and student council assignments, of designing layouts for the middle school yearbook. Long before I’d ever heard of graphic design, which would become my area of study, and my first career, and would ultimately lead me to New York for 8 years.

I remember the whole school gathering to sing holiday songs together in elementary school, and reading the lyrics on the overhead projector. Those singing sessions are the reason I know the words to the Star-Spangled Banner and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and dozens of other songs that help make up our culture.

Little boy outfit styled with Schoola - an online thrift shop with great deals. Proceeds fund school art and music programs.

Certainly, those school “extras” helped shape me as an adult. And when I think about my own kids and their future kids, I hope the “extras” no longer feel extra.

The more we study the brain, the more we learn how important these extra programs are. It seems like there are new headlines every week: Kids who learn music do better in math. Kids who learn languages do better in school overall. Kids that get moving in PE classes have better concentration.

And I know from watching my own kids, that some of the very best parts of their school day are making tiles for the art wall, singing in the school choir, and mastering the rules of kickball. Art and music and PE and fieldtrips are all hugely important to my kids and to me as a parent. I’m sure they are important to you too.

Yay for fundraising efforts that support those programs!

4th grader outfit styled with Schoola — an online thrift shop where proceeds fund school art and music programs.

Another question I had when I first heard about Schoola: What kind of clothes are on the site? Happily I have my answer now: The kind of clothes pictured here. This whole shoot was done with Schoola clothing! Really good quality second-hand pieces. And some that were brand new! In fact, I left the tags on so you could see that many pieces are unused.

I wanted the full Schoola experience, so I also donated 10 clothing items to see what that process is like. My donation will benefit my kids’ elementary school. Our school has terrific art and music and PE programs. A gardening program too! And all of those programs are completely funded by the school community. So I love supporting our school fundraising efforts in any way possible. Plus, I always love a good excuse to clean out our closets!

And this is awesome: Instead of choosing a local school, you can also choose to donate to the Malala Fund to benefit education for girls around the world! Request your donation bag here.

Check out Schoola, an online thrift shop with gently used clothing at bargain prices. Proceeds fund school art and music programs.

Want to try shopping Schoola for yourself? Share a favorite memory on social media with the hashtag #WhyISchoola. Schoola will be selecting 5 winners and sending them $50 in Schoola credit!

Now I’m curious. How does your school fund art and music? PE and fieldtrips? Have your budgets been cut? Do parents fund the programs? And when you were growing up, did your schools offer enrichment programs? If yes, did you benefit from them? I’d love to hear!

P.S. — A note on the sketches of the kids: A couple of months ago, my brother-in-law, artist Paul Ferney, was hanging out at our house for the evening, and he painted quick portaits of each one of our kids. Such treasures! It’s fun to be related to talented people. : )