As a former teacher, Laura Raetzsch Unnasch knows educators sometimes have to rely on their communities to meet professional and personal needs.

That’s why Raetzsch Unnasch founded Helping Hands for RRISD in December 2021 in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

How it happened

Raetzsch Unnasch described Helping Hands as a nonprofit that connects Round Rock ISD staff with community members to spread positivity.

“It was so important for us to come together as a community and show our support of these teachers making huge sacrifices,” Raetzsch Unnasch said.

The mission of the nonprofit started as parent-coordinated displays of appreciation, such as signs placed at each campus thanking teachers and staff for all they do.

The approach

Raetzsch Unnasch said Helping Hands now regularly assists teachers with everything from school supply purchases to assistance paying rent.

Those interested in helping can join the Facebook group and contribute anything from positive encouragement to wish fulfillment, she said.

Each weekday comes with its own objective, she said. As one example, on Wish Wednesday, teachers and staff can share their classroom needs.

“It could be something that [community members] already have at their house, or the community member orders what [teachers] need from Amazon,” Raetzsch Unnasch said.

On one occasion, a teacher sought donations to help students impacted by the March 2021 tornado, which saw many Round Rock homes damaged. Another time, supporters crowdfunded money to help teachers struggling to cover rent.

As the school year approaches, she said the group will need more hands and contributions.

“My goal was to bring some sense of unity, and that’s there,” she said.

Get involved

There are multiple ways to assist Helping Hands for RRISD, a nonprofit that helps meet the needs of district staff and teachers:
  • Monetary donations
  • Volunteering time to organize appreciation events
  • Gift card or prize donations
  • Classroom and school supply donations