— she spends her days fulfilling promises: As an Offers Resolution Representative at the T-Mobile Care Center in Meridian, Idaho — where she’s worked the past 12 years, and plans to work 12 more — she doggedly helps customers get unclaimed rebates and upgrades they are due and rightly deserve. “If you walk into a store and they say you’re going to get a buy-one-get-one free iPhone offer,” she gives by way of example, “I want to make sure you get that $700 rebate.”
More recently, she's taken to fulfilling dreams, too. Inspired by her son. In honor of her sister.
Barbara's son Bryan started his career as a fourth-grade teacher in September of 2017 at East Canyon Elementary, in Nampa, Idaho. East Canyon is a Title One school, which means it receives some federal subsidies to close the education gap for its majority of students who come from economically challenged backgrounds. Needless to say, any and all help is a blessing to students and teachers alike.
Her sister Ruth, a lifetime school teacher herself, helped Bryan with everything from lesson plans to decorating his classroom. She was indispensable to his early success creating an inspiring learning environment for his students.
A few weeks into the school year, Ruth received a cancer diagnosis, and passed away suddenly. Barbara was determined to honor her sister's legacy, and began pulling double-duty volunteering at the school on top of her full-time job.
"My mother stepped up and helped fill some very big shoes," Bryan says. "She graded papers and came to STEM night and multi-cultural night to help out with kids. Positive adult presence with elementary kids is invaluable."
The more Barbara - or Barb, as she's known to family and friends - pitched in, laminating presentations and creating bulletin boards for her son and other teachers, the greater her calling at East Canyon became. "I try to get into the school as much as possible," she says, "and do whatever I can on the weekends. If I do two or three hours of grading on a weekend, that's giving the teachers back some time with their families."
Barb dug into her own pockets, too, to chip in for other essentials, like school supplies for the fourth-graders, little things the kids would have had to do without. One of her coworkers caught wind of Barb’s generosity and dedication to East Canyon, and turned her on to T-Mobile’s Employee Matching Program, which matches charitable donations dollar for dollar, and also matches the time an employee volunteers at $10 per hour up to $2000 a year for organizations that could use a helping hand — like East Canyon Elementary. Barb signed up, and started logging her hours. The money piled up, and Barb set her sights beyond notebooks and pencils. Soon, enough money was raised that her son was able to delight his students with an unlikely treat: a field trip.
As the year was about to come to a close, Barb’s matching funds provided for two buses to take the kids to the Old Idaho Penitentiary in nearby Boise, a rare day out of the classroom soaking up rich Idaho history, perusing exhibitions and botanical gardens.
"We're caring about what happens in these communities and what happens with these kids," Barb says. "We're raising the next generation. They're always going to remember going on that field trip."
Naturally, Barb has plans for her son's current class to share the same special experience at the end of this school year, and has already logged enough volunteer hours to pay for it. Dependable as ever, forever a Constant.