Planting the Seeds: TRTF Classroom Assistance Grants in Action

Randy Mayer has spent 15 years teaching; but in his three years with Hays ISD, he’s found an uncommon amount of support for his non-traditional methods.

Mayer teaches students with special needs at an alternative school in Buda, Texas. He is a master gardener who has been craving the opportunity to educate students through the medium of horticulture.

Thanks to the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF), his wish is finally starting to come true. TRTF provided Mayer a $500 classroom assistance grant in March. The grant has allowed Mayer to start a botanical greenhouse, wherein he teaches his students with multiple disabilities practical life principles.

“It’s really cool to see the passion in their eyes,” said Mayer, “and the passion would have never even been explored if we didn’t have the greenhouse.”

Hays ISD matched TRTF’s grant, so Mayer was given $1,000 to build his greenhouse. Mayer used the money to purchase ultra-violet sheeting, shovels, gloves and wheelbarrows. Mayer said he doesn’t want a lot of “bells and whistles.” He is focused on providing an education the students can take home.

“What we will do is keep everything organic and everything simplified, so that these students can take what they’ve learned here and duplicate it in their own backyard,” Mayer said.

Once the plants have come to fruition, Mayer sends them home with his students. Mayer’s program focuses on vegetables such as tomatoes, squash and beans.

“They see it from a seed package to their own dinner table,” Mayer said. “Delayed gratification happens over four to five months when you’re gardening, and it teaches so many different skills.”

Mayer already is starting to see results, as one of his senior students was able to complete the program and is on his way to graduating high school.

“I can’t thank the Foundation enough,” said Mayer. “To see the passion in these kids is all it would take for anybody to donate to your organization.”

TRTF delivered 15 $500 classroom assistance grants in 2015, and the organization hopes to match that amount next year, too. You can submit a donation online here or call 1.800.880.1650 to donate over the phone. Members of TRTA also received a donation card and envelope in their third quarter issue of The VOICE, which can be used to submit donations by mail.

Help celebrate TRTF’s Foundation Month by donating to its four charitable programs: Classroom Assistance Grants, Student Scholarships, “A Helping Hand,” and the Legacy Campaign.

Thank You

Thank you for all that you do to support the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation and the many teachers, students, and retirees whose lives are changed every day by your generosity! Since 2008, TRTF has given over $200,000 to educators of the past, present and future. You can donate to TRTF here or visit to learn more.

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