Chicago teacher raises money to buy unique classroom library for students

A first-year teacher, assigned to an Englewood school, is going the extra mile to inspire her students. 

She started a GoFundMe page to build a unique classroom library, and she exceeded her goal. This school year, as students walked into her classroom for the very first time, they were greeted by 200 different stories of youth not that different from them. 

"I was really surprised and really moved by the response I got,” said Layla Treuhaft-Ali.

It's an example of how far a teacher is willing to go to inspire her students. 

"About $800 dollars for 200 books, so I tried to work my money,” Treuhaft-Ali said.

It's a new chapter for Treuhaft-Ali at Claremont STEM Academy. With a tight budget, she needed help funding a classroom library that really spoke to her students. 

"So many protagonists of children's literature are white and middle class (19) (cut out) (28) and that can really turn kids off reading even if it's a great book otherwise because they feel like, well this is just a world that's different than my world,” Treuhaft-Ali said. "By purchasing new books, I could really get books that might speak to my students more." 

The Language Arts and English teacher came up with a novel idea: a GoFundMe page. She quickly surpassed her goal of $1,200. 

"One thing that I have represented here but that I would like to build is experiences of LGBTQ youth, experiences of disabled youth,” Treuhaft-Ali said.

She's hoping the selections will inspire students to choose their own adventure in life.

"You could donate to a million things but when you say the project of kids reading is worth fighting for, what you're really saying is kid's minds, and ideas and hopes are worth investing in,” Treuhaft-Ali said.

She has already bought 200 books, but she would love your books if you think they fit the bill. You can drop used books off at Claremont STEM Academy.