Local Teen Surprises 100 Students with Backpacks Filled with School Supplies
by ABIGAIL LAL
15 MILLION STUDENTS START SCHOOL EACH YEAR WITHOUT BASIC SCHOOL SUPPLIES
The future of our country is reliant upon our youth of today, and the foundation of that future relies on the education we give our kids; making sure they are provided the necessary tools to succeed academically is a crucial investment. Principals and teachers report that when students have the supplies they need, test scores rise, absenteeism drops, and disruptive behavior decreases. Yet, in today's America, 15 million children are heading off to class with far less than what they need, whether it's books, supplies, or even backpacks.
On top of this, many public schools don't have al the necessary resources to support their students, and teachers and families are picking up the bill. These costs add up quickly, with teachers spending over $500 a year and families spending nearly $700 a year on average. To combat these staggering numbers, we must work to achieve measured steps towards relieving the financial burden placed on our families and teachers.
SMALL AFTER-SCHOOL CLUB MAKES HUGE IMPACT ON SCHOOL SUPPLY SHORTAGE
Over the past year, Choice for All has been fortunate enough to partner with the South Side High School Backpacks Club in Rockville Centre, New York. Their objective is to distribute backpacks filled with grade-specific supplies to ensure that children, no matter their background, are given a helping hand so that their new school year begins on a high note.
It all began in December 2018, when we received a message from Eli Pullaro, a junior at South Side High School who recently started a chapter club through The Backpacks Foundation. He was interested in working with a local community-based organization, and we enthusiastically signed on as his partner organization. Eli and his dedicated club members collaborated with us on creating supply lists for each grade level based on local school requirements, arranged countless drives and bake sales, and forged relationships with schools and teachers that had extra resources available to collect in-kind donations. They based backpack size on grade (as many young children end up with backpacks the size of their bodies!), and made sure that there were a wide variety of colors to choose from, knowing that differentiation would play a part in making students feel extra special.
In their first year, the South Side High Backpacks Club raised enough funds and in-kind donations to purchase and fill 100 grade-specific backpacks. Their attention to detail and compassion was inspiring to say the least, and witnessing the joy and excitement as club members handed out backpacks to our students was a truly heartwarming experience. The relationship that has been fostered between Choice for All and the South Side High Backpacks Club is one that we are excited to continue in the years ahead, and we look forward to supporting each other as we grow together.