Straight Outta Crayons: How Instagram is Helping Southside Chicago Schools

It’s no secret that many public schools in America are severely underfunded and missing basic resources, such as good desks and working technology.  Although it may seem like there’s not much that the average person can do to make a difference for the staff and students at these schools, one Instagram account is proving that mentality wrong.  


The account @talkthirtytome is a lighthearted, relatable page that usually posts comedic content, whether her own or reposted from another account.  With 151 thousand followers, it’s pretty safe to say that people enjoy her content. Recently, though, the content has taken a departure from the usual because of one amazing project:  Straight Outta Crayons. Straight Outta Crayons is a fundraiser in support of the Dulles School of Excellence, a school teaching pre-k through eighth grade in South Side Chicago. You might be wondering why this school has become the focus of an electronic crusade when there are so many underfunded schools in the area.  What’s so different about this school? Well, the answer to that is nothing good.


According to @straightouttacrayons, The Dulles School of Excellence is currently ranked 2026th out of 2026 Illinois elementary schools, with 10% of the students being homeless and 100% of the students coming from low-income families.  The school is located on Chicago’s most violent block, 6400 South King Drive, which had the most shootings of any block in Chicago from June 2011 to June 2014. Because of this, most of the students have PTSD from witnessing some form of gun violence.  Tarps are hanging up on the playground fences to prevent the students from witnessing drug deals, prostitution, and worse.  

The current condition of the doors, desks, and playground area at the school.  Via @talkthirtytome

In addition to all of this, 33% of students are chronically truant, while only 3% are proficient in reading or math.  The school has had to cancel after school activities because of a homicide directly outside of the school. Many of the students who do come to school arrive unfed or without supplies solely because they can’t afford them.


Even with all of this, the school still has staff doing everything they can to give their students a quality education and provide them with a brighter future.  This is where Straight Outta Crayons comes in. In order to provide supplies, food, and repairs for the school, they need funding, and Straight Outta Crayons was created to generate that funding.  The GoFundMe has a goal of raising $50,000, and so far $16,070 has been raised in 9 days.  This money is going towards replacing broken desks and chairs, giving clean uniforms to students, repairing broken classrooms, and providing them with smart boards and everyday technology.

That isn’t the only component to this incredible fundraiser, though.  There’s also an Amazon wishlist to provide supplies for the classroom and arts and crafts, as well as give toys to the students and bring them some joy.  So far people have donated bikes, stuffed animals, books, and so much more. Major corporations are even starting to support the school!  The local Krispy Kreme catered in a sweet treat for all of the teachers during training.


How can you help?  Donate in any way you can and spread the word!  Whether you donate through the GoFundMe, buy supplies from Amazon, or any other charitable activity, you’re helping to support an amazing cause and making such a positive impact on the students and teachers lives alike.  With enough support, we can help to completely revamp the Dulles School of Excellence and make a lasting impact on the lives of everyone in this area!