CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is looking for help growing an app that connects you to the children and families in need of assistance in our communities.
Nine months ago, NBC Charlotte told you about Purposity, a new app that required 500 users in order to launch in Charlotte. Well thanks to the Charlotte community stepping up, they reached that goal in under four hours.
“Thank you so much Charlotte, the response has been overwhelming,” said Michele King, a social work specialist with the CMS school district.
Today, there are more than 2,000 active users, but the school district says their goal this year is to reach 5,000.
“We ended the school year last year with eight schools as well as one of our pre-k social workers that serves numerous sites that educate our pre-k kids," she said.
King said they want to try to move to that number up to 20 schools. They're aiming for 5,000 users this school year.
“We try to pace it out to not grow too many needs at once because we also don’t want kids awaiting shoes, or uniforms or basic needs that they’re excited about possibly getting and then not have enough community users to be able to support that in a timely way,” she said.
Purposity allows social workers at CMS schools to identify and then request specific needs of the community. For example, a first-grader might be in need of a pair of shoes, while a third-grader could use a winter coat.
The social worker would submit the request through the app. Users are notified of the need and can choose to buy the item with one simple click from their phone. So far, more than 800 needs have been met.
“This allows our kids to be able to focus on school, and that ultimately is the goal,” said King. “When kids are at school and they’re worrying about their shoes not fitting right or the fact that they’re wearing the same white uniform shirt that they’ve had to wear for three days and it’s got yesterday’s lunch on it, and they’re embarrassed about that, that’s going to interfere with their ability to stay focused and have a really good experience at school, both socially and academically.”
How does a donation directly impact a student? CMS social worker Diane Curran knows well.
“He sat with me and picked out the shoes, and then every day would ask, Mrs. Curran are my shoes here today, Mrs. Curran are my shoes here today?" Curran said. "So, when they came in, I called him up to the office and he came in and I held out the box to him and he was shaking he was so excited, and he showed the shoes off to everybody. It was wonderful."
Anyone who wants to help CMS reach its goal and help a local student in need can sign up for purposity on a mobile device.