As schools and educators were preparing to return to school for in-person learning, Mt. Rainier Elementary School decided to show their appreciation for teachers by transforming its existing Teacher’s Lounge into an inviting vibrant space where staff can relax!

Community Forklift’s Community Building Blocks program provided the school with a dining set and side table for the newly refurbished space. Jasmine Washington, Community School Coordinator at Mt. Rainier Elementary, shared that she was inspired to create a space for the teachers to “unwind and reset.” She added that “having a place for staff members to get away from their work tasks can help decrease stress levels and increase productivity. Allowing staff members a place where they can spend some time away from their workspace to relax and reboot, especially when doing complex or repetitive tasks.”

Once the project was completed, Jasmine sent us a few photos and a kind message: “It was a pleasure to work with Community Forklift on another project that benefits school culture. Our vision was to create a space that staff members could take a breather from their classes. We were very intentional about picking the paint color to the artwork in the space…We are grateful for the partnership with [Community Forklift] and looking forward to collaborating on future projects.”

Teachers had a lot to say about the project too!
Collett Thomas: “I feel happy and refreshed when I walk in. The furniture, the artwork, the overall vibe definitely brings out the ‘lounge.’ Great job and many thanks!”
Andrea Vincent: “Our lounge went from ‘depressing’ to ‘do I really get to sit here and enjoy lunch.'”
Mark Sandy: “I have benefitted from the teacher’s lounge project in many ways. It has provided a space that has improved my mental health. The lounge is bright, comfortable, smells good and a place I can now be productive, take a break, eat and recharge. The artwork also adds a nice touch as I see different things each time I look at them. It has provided a sanctuary that I want to sit and share with my colleagues.”
Ivette Quarles: “Love it!  A nice calm place where I go to relax during breaks.  The lemongrass in the diffuser makes my mind wander to the beach, while the comfy sofa provides a spot for a quick ‘cat nap’ in order to recharge.” 
Shari Flynn: “Entering the lounge just makes me feel special. It makes me feel like someone cares about me. I truly appreciate the time, work and donations that have created the uplifting space we have now.”  
Sharon Lo: “Thank you for providing us a relaxing staff lounge that I personally enjoy during my 30 minutes break. It gave me a calming space, enjoy my meal, and a smile on my face. Lastly, thank you for looking after our well-being during our work hours.”
Greer Spicer: “During the first few weeks after students returned to the building, you would walk into the lounge and instantly be swept away.  Fluorescent lights were off since we have great lamps, the oil diffuser was scenting the room lightly, and teachers were relaxing with heads back and eyes closed.  It is our oasis from the stresses of teaching hybrid!”

Mt. Rainier Elementary School and its Parent Teacher Organization members have done an amazing job designing the Teacher’s Lounge. We want to give a big thanks to all the teachers that go above and beyond for their students and hope that they will enjoy their new space!


Every time you donate or shop at Community Forklift, you’re helping us lift up local communities through reuse.  We turn the construction waste stream into a resource stream for communities in the DC region – by keeping perfectly good items out of the landfill, preserving historical materials, providing low-cost building supplies, and creating local green jobs.