LIFE

Buy This 'Back To School' Stuff And Help Aussie Kids

It's a no brainer.

25/01/2017 1:34 PM AEDT | Updated 25/01/2017 2:42 PM AEDT
Yoobi

Have you heard of Yoobi? It's a fun, colourful and affordable stationery brand which launched in Australia a little over a year ago.

Another range of pens and pencils you say. Well, no -- this range, stocked at Officeworks across the country, is so much more than that.

"Ido Leffler and I were already business partners and living in the U.S., both with kids, when we learned that teachers were paying for school supplies out of their own pockets to supplement under resourced classrooms and support kids from disadvantaged homes," Yoobi co-founder Lance Kalish told The Huffington Post Australia.

"We thought we could do something about this problem and we also saw a unique business opportunity to disrupt the current stationery category by creating a brand that combined cool, new designs with an awesome cause, and the chance to let the consumer make a difference."

Yoobi
Yoobi founders Ido Leffler and Lance Kalish.

And so, Yoobi was born.

"We first kicked off the brand in the US with the help of megastars Usher and Pharrell Williams as ambassadors in 2014 and 2015 and have since helped over 2 million American kids. It was our dream to follow up the US launch with one in Australia where we sadly learnt that this problem is as prevalent as it is in the US. So in December 2015, we brought our signature range of feel-good stationery to Officeworks stores around the nation," Kalish said.

The cool thing about the brand (besides the designs themselves) is that all you have to do is buy it. It's cheap as chips, and for every notebook, pen set or pencil case you purchase, Yoobi gives a stationery item to a disadvantaged Aussie kid. It's that simple.

Yoobi
The various ranges are fun, colourful and affordable.

"The response has been overwhelmingly positive. In just over one year since launch in Australia, Yoobi has impacted the lives of more than 24,000 Aussie kids in need by providing them all the supplies they needed for the school year -- that's over 330,000 Yoobi items given away -- and we are about to commence our 2017 giving program starting the first week of this school year," Kalish said.

"We couldn't have provided these supplies without Australians first choosing to buy our brand and make a difference with each purchase. That said, I think it's taking a while for Aussies to truly grasp that child poverty is a real problem in the so-called 'lucky country', so that's why we want to draw people's attention to reports such as the Australian Council Of Social Service Poverty Report which shows there are 1.1 million children and young people living in poverty across the country who may not be able to afford the basics they need to go to school. Things like pens and pencils that you and I take for granted."

Yoobi
Children from Broadmeadows Valley Primary receiving their donated stationery.

As for what's next for the brand, helping every Aussie kid in need is the goal.

"Our goal for 2017 is to impact the lives of 100,000 Aussie kids, so, to increase our impact four-fold. We eventually want to provide supplies to every Australian kid in need, so that they have the basic tools they need to be successful at school and teachers don't have to be the ones funding this!"

"When speaking to Australian teachers and principals we've been shocked to discover some instances where some of their students literally don't have their own pencil at home to complete a basic home assignment. It's a problem that we want to do away with altogether. It's a very simple premise -- buy a fun, colourful Yoobi stationery item for yourself, and we will give a Yoobi school item to a child in need. It's simple, transparent and measurable, and I think Aussies love that approach," Kalish said.

Yoobi is available nationwide in Officeworks and online.

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