Every day, people finish their transactions at the Hastings store on Best Avenue in Coeur d'Alene and drop their leftover change into bins at the cash register. Most probably don't even know what the funds support, but their donations add up to become a significant gift to the North Idaho College Adult Basic Education Center.
This year, Hastings presented the NIC Adult Basic Education (ABE) Center more than $485, contributing to the 10-year total of more than $9,250 donated through the NIC Foundation.
The funds provide scholarships to help offset the cost of General Education Development (GED) testing for those needing financial assistance and also purchases low-level reading curriculum for the program.
"It's difficult to find low-level reading materials that are not geared toward young children," said NIC ABE Director Rex Fairfield. "The generosity of Hastings and its patrons helps us meet this critical need for our students."
Deanna Karst, 46, of Post Falls has benefitted directly from the support provided by Hastings customers over the years, having received one of the GED testing scholarships after enrolling at the ABE Center in 2007.
She was volunteering at the NIC Head Start Center when a job became available for a teaching assistant-a job she desperately wanted, but didn't qualify for since she never earned a high school diploma.
Having been told repeatedly throughout her life that she wasn't smart enough to make it, Karst was prepared to accept that label once again and let the job pass her by. But coworkers and friends encouraged her to contact the North Idaho College ABE/GED Center and begin working toward earning a GED.
"I didn't want to; I was so afraid of failure that I didn't even want to try," Karst said. "But the staff at the ABE Center was so positive that I felt really comfortable immediately and had the encouragement that I needed to get my confidence back."
Karst hopes to complete the last test required for her GED before the end of the year and now hopes to continue on her career path working with children and own a daycare someday.
"The NIC ABE/GED center changes lives like Deanna's every day," Fairfield said. "With the generosity of the community and with Hastings, our great partner in education, we're able to do even more to help our students, even in tough economic times."