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  • Esperanza Community Services

  • School Wish List


    Esperanza School Wish List (and how we put these items to good use every day!)

    Below is more information about the items we feature in the video, including why we need them and how we put them to good use them every day, as well as links to purchase the items online! Your support will make a difference for the students of Esperanza School and help them make academic gains in the year ahead.

    All items on this list can be sent directly to:


    Esperanza School Supply Drive
    520 N. Marshfield Ave
    Chicago, IL  60622


    If you would like to donate the cash equivalent of the item, you can do so securely and easily online at Network for Good, or you can send a check to Esperanza at the address above.  Thank you very much for watching and sharing our video and for helping students with developmental disabilities! For Amazon shoppers, please note that Esperanza Community Services participates in Amazon Smile, meaning that a percentage of your purchase on these or any qualifying products will support our work. Remember to select Esperanza Community Services!

    Last year, Esperanza School staff used approximately 1,400 feet of Velcro, aka hook-and-loop adhesive. It’s versatile and perfect for lots of uses, including:

    • Creating daily visual schedules so that students know their routine. Being familiar with what activities are happening and when helps students stay on task while reducing uncertainty and anxiety. Velcro allows us to create a schedule that can be changed every day of the week.
    •  Academic enrichment.  Many lessons that incorporate matching, fill in the blank, or labeling use Velcro.  For example, a teacher might support a student to read a story from a page that has been printed and laminated. The teacher may then ask questions and ask the student to fill in the blank by selecting answers from a number of choices – the blank has the soft, fuzzy half of the Velcro, and each choice has the other side so that students can affix their answer right on the page. Staff can use this approach to build math, spelling and language comprehension skills, and more.
    • Communication. Students who are non-verbal or non-vocal can clearly express themselves using a picture –based communication system (called PECS). By selecting from phrases (I Want, I feel) and images (happy, angry, thirsty), students can better express how they are feeling and what they are thinking. This approach can be customized for every student, and dramatically reduces frustration while supporting the growth of independent communication skills.

    Find it here:

    5/8” Velcro  coins on

    3/4” Velcro coins on

    3/4” Strip on

    1” Strip on (sold separately: buy the hook, aka the ‘hard’ side here and the loop, aka the soft                      side, here.


    Last year we used 20,000 feet of lamination! Lamination helps us protect our materials and resources so they last longer. Lots of things get laminated, including activity sheets, schedules, reward/incentive boards, and communication materials.  We also use lamination (and Velcro – the two go together like peanut butter and jelly) to make books more accessible and engaging for our students.

    By laminating books and incorporating activities that engage the student in a variety of ways, students benefit more from their time with the book. Adaptations might be visual (asking students to match a picture to a corresponding image in the book) or language based (supporting students to summarize a  main idea). Staff will frequently use lamination and Velcro to create custom books, schedules and other tools to help all students build the skills they need!

    Find it here: 

    Lamination Rolls at

    Full-page lamination pouches on


    Clear, stackable 6-quart containers

    Clear containers with lids are a cornerstone of classroom organization!  Not only are they are a way for teachers to organize materials for lessons and activities, having materials for activities in labeled bins builds our students’ ability to get needed items on their own, building their independence. The extent to which these are put to good use every day can’t be overstated! We would gladly accept gently used/any brand.

    Find it here  at Amazon.


    Glue – Sticks or Liquid

    Versatile and indispensable, Esperanza School has a thousand and one uses for glue sticks. We would gladly accept gently used/any brand.

    Find them here:   Glue Sticks on


    Clothes Pins

    Clothes pins are durable and can be used for a variety of purposes.   Common uses include matching / color identification (for example, matching the clothes pin that has the word blue written on it to a picture that’s blue in color).  Or teachers might support students to build language skills by using pins with letters on them to spell out words, fill in the missing letter of a word, or answer a math equation. Not only do these activities build academics, but the practice of grasping and operating clothes pins helps build fine motor skills. We would gladly accept gently used/any brand.

    Find them on Amazon herehere, and also here!


     Duct Tape

    Brightly colored duct tape is used in classrooms to define areas (individual work space, group areas, and more). It’s also great for color coding activity and material bins, enabling students to identify and select the right materials for the next classroom lesson. This, in turn, helps the student build confidence and independence.

    Find Duct Tape on Amazon here:

    We would gladly accept gently used/any brand.


    3-Ring Binders (white)

    Binders are used to help us organize all of the pages that need organizing – from classroom activities to the goal logs that help us track the progress of every single student. And this organization not is not only efficient, it helps the student build independence.  Binders are always needed, both 1” and 1/2” sizes.

    You can find them on Amazon here and here.

    We would gladly accept gently used/any brand.


    Ziploc Bags

    Ziploc bags are a way to keep the small stuff organized, including puzzle pieces, coins, buttons and other sortables,  and all those hundreds and hundreds of laminated words and pictures that you’ve already read about!  We need a variety of sizes from the sandwich-sized bags to gallon sizes for classroom supplies.

    Find them on Amazon here, here  and here.


    Sharpies and other markers (including dry erase)

    Sharpies are used for color coding and creating manipulatives (see clothes pins!), labeling, and much more!  Handy, versatile, and in high demand. We would gladly accept gently used/any brand.

    Find it here: sharpies at Amazon as we as dry erase markers.

    There’s no way around it: glitter is the best.  That’s why students love it. Its bright colors and reflective properties (its glitteriness!) make it a terrific incentive, and can help add an element of fun and familiarity to new tasks. And who doesn’t love to see their name spelled out in big, shimmering letters?

    You can find it on Amazon:


    Classroom Basics
    We are always in need of The Classics: construction paper, safety scissors, crayons, note cards (3×5 and 4×6), pencils and pens!


    Health & Hygiene

    We also need items like Clorox wipes, tissue, hand sanitizer and baby wipes.


    Art Supplies 

    …like acrylic paints and paintbrushes


    Fitness Equipment

    Obesity rates for children with disabilities are 38% higher than among their non-disabled peers. Unfortunately, this trend gets worse over time, and the obesity rate among adults with a disability is  58% higher than for adults who are not disabled.  Fitness is important, and access to fitness equipment makes it possible. In addition, fitness activities help students build motor skills and focus their energy in a positive and productive way, reducing outbursts and helping them focus better in the classroom.

    Items we could use include:

    Super Scooters like these at

    Jungle Jumparoo (super), like this one found at Target

    Adjustable basketball hoop, like this one at Costway

    Volleyball/tennis/badminton adjustable net system, like this full-sized model at

    Playground balls like these on

    Balance stones like these on

    We would gladly accept gently used/any brand. There are more fitness items (and other items) below!


    In addition to the items we mentioned in the video, here are other items that we could really use!

    iTunes gift cards so that we can purchase educational and learning apps for our iPads

    Admission to museums in Chicago so that students can develop community integration skills and stay connected to our community

    Gift cards  for Jewel-Osco, Target, Costco,  and other stores so that staff can purchase supplies and incentives

    Melissa and Doug puzzles

    Music-related items like a boom box, portable CD players, rechargeable batteries and chargers, and headphones.

    Video rockers (video gaming chairs)

    Balance discs


    Small weights (traditional) or SoftGrip therapy weights, 1 – 5LBS.

    Play tunnels and multicolor play cones for obstacle challenges

    Wiggle Cushions that help students stay focused, like these

    Balance Beams

    Bean Bags

    Thank you for reading! Please help us spread the word by sharing on Facebook.

    This video was made in-house by the staff and students of Esperanza School using an iPad that was generously donated by Todd and Amy Caputo.