Choosing a new pair of school shoes, shopping for new clothes and loading up on school supplies were my favorite parts of welcoming a new school year when I was a child…perhaps you felt the same way. A similar shopping expedition with your children or grandchildren is bound to bring back these positive memories.
Clearly, school supplies are essential tools that children need in order to be successful in school; unfortunately, there are children who do not have access to these basic educational supplies. However, it’s not really that hard to remedy this situation, while also teaching the children in our lives to appreciate what they have and give back. I wrote about the value of modeling behavior for repairing the world one good deed at a time (Tikkun Olam). This can be fun and make everyone involved feel good.
Here are two great ways to help:
The Ark, a Chicago-based not-for-profit community-funded health and human services agency, founded the Backpack Project several years ago to address this need in three ways:
1. The Backpack Project is an opportunity for individuals and families to sponsor a child in need. We will match you with a child and send a list of age-appropriate school supplies. The cost of the program will vary based on your student’s grade and whether you are a bargain hunter.
2. Gift Cards are often the easiest and most convenient option. If you prefer to send a gift card for an office supply store or Target, these are greatly appreciated, as they help us fulfill specific needs. We are looking for $10, $20, and $50 gift cards.
3. Our General School Supply Drive is another way to help. Sometimes people just find good deals and end up having extra supplies on hand to donate. In addition to The Backpack Project, we are collecting general school supplies. Items we need most are NEW backpacks, binders, spiral notebooks and folders, new calculators, and tissue boxes.
Staples, the world’s largest office products company, runs Staples for Students, an annual national school supply drive. This year they are teaming up with teen actor, Jake T. Austin, to help spread their message:
From June 30 to September 28, Staples customers can donate $1 or more at any Staples store, with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting local students. Each Staples store will be matched with a local Boys & Girls Club which will receive the donation to benefit youth who attend the Club in time for the new school year. To kick-start the campaign, Staples is donating $125,000 worth of school supplies to the program this year which will be distributed to Boys & Girls Club youth in need.
When you shop for school supplies with the children in your life, enjoy their company and revisiting your past, but don’t forget to add to their memories and influence their future by providing for other children, as well.