Deserving Chicago Elementary School Teacher Gets BIG Surprise from Drew

Drew's News & Causes

Make every week teacher appreciation week!

Amy Castaneda has committed her life to the Little Village neighborhood in Chicago, where she has taught elementary art for the last 24 years. She believes in weaving yourself into the community to better understand the families that she serves. That’s why she and her husband started the Beyond the Ball Program.
Please find out more information about her organization here!

Learning Resources

Company Description:

  • Learning Resources is an award-winning educational toy company based in Vernon Hills, IL. From ABCs and 123s to fine motor and STEM skills, their educational toys  have helped parents and teachers build generations of amazing kids, offering the building blocks they need to succeed in school and develop a lifelong love of learning.

Product name: Coding Critters MagiCoders Skye and Blazer

Product Description:

  • Children ages 4 and up can explore STEM concepts through whimsical storytelling and use their imagination to learn the fundamentals of coding with two new enchanting additions to the award-winning Coding Critters by Learning Resources. They’ll cast spells with magical coding wands, and build hands-on skills completely screen-free, with two fantasy sets: MagiCoders Skye the Unicorn and Blazer the Dragon! The interactive playset and spellbook is filled with coding activities and games that promote “imaginative play” as kids reveal the magic waiting inside.


Company Description:

  • hand2mind is an award-winning educational resources company based in Vernon Hills, IL. Offering resources for math, science, STEM, and literacy, hand2mind’s mission is to support teachers, inspire students, engage parents, and champion learning by doing.

Product name: Pawz, The Calming Pup

Product Description:

  • Children ages 3 and up are introduced to social-emotional learning (SEL) skills with their newest calming companion, Pawz The Calming Pup. Pawz, The Calming Pup’s auto-adjusting light guides children through common deep breathing patterns including square breath, 4x4 breath and laddered breath. The child simply inhales when the built-in light gets brighter and exhales as the light fades. By practicing these methods with Pawz, The Calming Pup, kids can learn to slow down and think clearly to process emotions, improve their communication and interpersonal skills. Pawz also doubles as a night-light!