FRUITLAND — What is Purposity? That’s the question Fruitland School District counselor Toni Arnzen sought to answer for the district’s Board of Trustees on Monday, Jan. 11, during their regular meeting.
Its name being a portmanteau of ‘purpose’ and ‘generosity,’ Purposity is a nationally-available online platform which seeks to connect families in need to available resources by referrals made through its downloadable application.
“I came across this through a speaker at the family engagement conference I attend,” said Arnzen. “I downloaded the app and I’ve been using it for schools and non-profits in our area.”
Arnzen has been working for two years to create such a partnership, she said. The program would be open to confidential requests for help by families and for donors to indicate what they are able to give to the community.
“There’s not a lot of contact between them, but it still has people feel like they’re helping others,” said Arnzen.
Presently, district staff members are in charge of finding or routing available resources as they are requested, often spending their own money in the process according to Arnzen.
“This takes time out of school,” Arnzen noted. “It also takes storage of items. For example, the board is aware that as the middle school counselor I would often do the clothing drive … and things to support the needs of kids. We ran into my time and the time of other staff, of organizing the event, getting the clothing organized and washed and cleaned and sorted, and often times [the clothes] weren’t the right size for all the kids that needed it, also finding storage for it.”
Staff members have also spent their own time coordinating food donations during thanksgiving, as an example of their efforts.
District staff also lean on state and federal money for help filling student needs, including the Idaho Education Association Children’s Fund. However, as Arnzen noted, such funds come with limits on dollar amounts per family and what those can legally be used to buy.
“We also refer to and utilize our community resources, which we know in our rural community can be very limited,” added Arnzen.
Arnzen added that she donates school supplies through the app, citing a recent example where she bought and sent backpacks to students in Emmett and donated them through the app.
“[The purchase] goes directly to Amazon,” Arnzen explained. “That takes [away] the legwork for a teacher or a counselor or someone within the district, to have to go purchase and find the right colors and find the item that will fit the student. And then it is shipped directly to me at the district office.”
A minimum of 200 followers need to sign up and download the Purposity app in order for the district to go live on Feb. 1. Otherwise, the district would see delays in getting started on the platform according to Arnzen.
“I have a feeling with our district and our community, as how tight-knit it has been and looking at positives especially during the time of COVID where everything’s so negative, one of the best things for our mental health is to give to others and do service for others. There’s people in our community that want to give and want to help people, but they don’t know how or where to go,” said Arnzen, noting that church leaders and their organizations are often among those who are unsure where to give resources.
Arnzen urged trustees to download the Purposity app and log in to support the effort. Donors can give of their time as well as money.
In a Jan. 19 email, Arnzen said the district is now halfway to its download goal.
“This is a partnership I am excited to have the Fruitland School District and Fruitland Community involved in. Families and students in need and poverty is a subject close to my heart and drives my passion to connect families to resources.”
Learn more about Purposity on their website at purposity.com. The app is available to download on your device’s application store.