TV producer Liam Murphy spent the past several years signing up celebrities from Justin Bieber to Lady Antebellum for a CBS special, “Real Change -- Artists for Education,” that would celebrate teachers and bring needed supplies to their schools. On Monday, the 35-year-old had one final stop to make before wrapping up: Long Beach, his hometown.
The 1996 grad and the “Real Change” crew, along with a team from Office Depot and Jamie Rosenberg, the founder of Adopt-A-Classroom, made a visit to Dr. Andy Smith’s Long Beach High School history classroom, where a $25,000 donation of supplies including books, a projector and Samsung tablets was given to the students.
It was Murphy’s turn to give back to the teachers that made a positive impact on him, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. “The Long Beach community definitely needs help right now,” he said.
Senior David Fuchs, 18, said he appreciated the effort.
“It’s very nice of them to do this for us. “It’s going to make schooling and learning so much easier.”
Like many Long Beach students, the Fuchs family has had a rough few months.
Fuchs and his mother were displaced for nearly a month after superstorm Sandy. The first floor of their house is still unlivable, leaving them confined to the second story. He shares two bedrooms and a small bathroom with his mom, his 150-pound dog and whatever possessions they saved.
“It’s kind of cramped up there, but it’s better than living outside of Long Beach,” he said. “The best thing we can do now is move on and start to rebuild.”
Fuchs is not alone, though. As many Long Beach students and their families continue to put their lives back together four months after Sandy devastated their coastal community, school has provided much-needed normalcy, said Principal Gaurav Passi.
The high school, which sustained millions of dollars in damage, is still recovering itself. Construction crews outside Long Beach High School are still a common sight.
“The National Guard pumped out seven feet of water,” Passi said. “We lost all of our first-floor classrooms and the gym is still closed.”
Despite the building’s damage, Passi said the donated supplies “are what kids really need. It will help them to get back on their feet, to focus in school and do their homework.”
Adopt-a-Classroom is also in the process of distributing $250,000 raised specifically for schools impacted by Sandy.
As the son of two career teachers, Murphy said he wanted to create a TV program that not only entertained but also helped and celebrated educators. Celebrity participants include Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, LMFAO, Lady Antebellum, Quincy Jones, Jason Mraz, Matthew Morrison of “Glee” and Pitbull.
“I started to talk to different celebrities and they all have that teacher, that one person who put them on that path and saw something special in them,” Murphy said.
Rosenberg, who has partnered up with Murphy, hopes that “Real Change,” which airs on April 23, will inspire more people to donate so even more classrooms can be adopted. (For teachers to receive funds, they must register at adoptaclassroom.org.)
With everything he’s been through, Fuchs says,”It doesn’t matter how big or how small you are, there are always going to be people there to help you when you are in need.”