DUDLEY -- For years Brandon Lark Jr. has watched teachers struggling with keeping supplies in their classrooms.
They shouldn't have to spend their own money to make sure students have pencils and paper, he says.
So as another school year wrapped up, he decided to do what he could to help with the situation.
He took to social media -- launching a Facebook page and GoFundMe account to generate financial support.
Wait, did we mention that he's 9 years old?
The rising fourth-grader at Brogden Primary School -- with permission from his parents and the blessing of his principal and teachers, of course -- decided to take matters into his own hands, as much as he was able.
"My past teachers have always run out of school supplies by Christmas, so I wanted to help my teachers get what they need," he said. "This fundraiser is because all my teachers have been running out of school supplies and they always send letters home with their students and they don't always get what they need.
"I wanted to help my teachers in my community by having this fundraiser because every little bit counts."
The typical things educators seem to run out of are the basics, particularly pens and pencils and glue. But other things like scissors and markers can also be in short supply.
"They sent home a letter in the middle of the year asking for things like Lysol spray, Kleenex, hand sanitizer, Ziploc bags," said Brandon's mom, RaSheena Lark. "Normally at the beginning of the year, they have the school supply list -- items that they actually need and things that you can voluntarily buy. We usually buy pretty much everything on the list that he would need, including hand sanitizer and Kleenex.
"Usually by the time they come back from Christmas break, we're getting another letter saying we're low on supplies, do you mind donating, if anything, and we'll go grab a few things for them."
Her husband, Brandon Lark Sr., said they try to consider the other kids in the class and what they might need.
Pitching in where they can is important, the couple explained.
"Teachers are some of the most important people in the world," he said.
"They raise our children just as much as we do so just to be able to help in any way, it goes without a thought," RaSheena said. "And his teachers are very involved in not just his academics, but after school hours."
Their son has been an honor student, but sometimes has needed a little extra support.
And even though that may fall under a teacher's job description, taking money from the educators' pockets should not, the couple says.
"Just going into the classroom, them not having these items available, not having homework sheets because they don't have ink to print it off, isn't right," RaSheena said.
Brandon Jr. has always had a passion to help others, his parents said.
Becoming involved in the 4-H club program after school spurred him on, and contributed in part to his receiving a citizenship award for his class in the spring.
"He's always coming up with different ideas and different things that he wants to do," said his mom.
The idea for a public fundraiser did not surprise the Dudley couple, or his grandmother, Carolyn Remington.
In addition to the monetary donations being accepted through the GoFundMe page, she had her own suggestion on generating money -- Beanie Babies.
"My husband had actually started collecting them since 1993, until about 2009," she said. "I had them stored after he passed and cleaned up and decided I wanted to do something."
The estimated collection of 6,000 Beanie Babies was everywhere, she said with a smile -- in china cabinets and shelves and drawers around the house.
This seemed like a good cause, and a potential way to share the wealth, Remington said.
She offered up her garage for the sale, which has already been held twice, on June 15 and 22, with one more this Friday, June 29, from 5 until 8 p.m. at 109 Glenwood Trail, off Ash Street by the Pizza Hut.
The items are selling for $1 to $3, with monetary donations also accepted.
Brandon Jr. said he has enjoyed welcoming customers and helping them pick out a toy or two or three.
He also offers them a glass of water or a lemonade, as well as a souvenir from the occasion.
"I give everyone a friendship bracelet, because we're making friends along the way," he said.
Their goal is to raise $5,000 from the effort, with half of that to go to Brogden Primary and a portion for Brogden Middle, since Brandon will be a student there the following year, his mother said.
Anything beyond the goal will be donated to local nursing homes and day cares, said the family, which also includes 6-year-old son Micah.
They are admittedly proud of the young man leading such an effort.
"I think he's awesome because even when he comes over here (to visit), he's always helping me do something," Remington said.
"It's important to be the change you want to see," added Brandon Sr.
His son shrugged off the credit, focused more on what this could mean for local educators.
"I feel really happy that I'm raising money to help my teachers get what they need, and it's been fun to do this," he said.