You've heard the question, "Can Johnny read?" I have another question. Will Johnny, and his sister Jane, start the school year in Alexandria with -- or without -- a backpack for their books, or pen and paper to write with? The answer depends in part on you.
Approximately 5,000 students from low-income families across town can't afford basic tools -- from notebooks and pens, to scissors and rulers. But you and I have a way to change that picture. Back-to-school supply drives are going on now. We can each take a simple act so more children start off the school year right -- and feel better about themselves.
Buying supplies on sale at Staples, Office Depot or Target for your kids? Consider picking up some extras. For one more week, we can help prevent some students from attending their first day of school less prepared to succeed than the students sitting next to them.
Community Partners for Children has recruited partners to host 46 different drop-off spots just waiting for you to come by with new supplies. Between now and Monday, you can stop by at a neighborhood business, church, community center or library near you. The hours do differ from site to site. You can find a list of the locations here.
As a kid, I didn't grow up in poverty, but my family's finances were seriously strained. When my parents bought me something used, I would excitedly tell other kids that it was new -- because it was new to me. And I'd hear with dripping condescension, "that's not new, it's used." I tried to not let it bother me, but I do remember the comment and who said it. The things kids say ... matter. And carrying the right tools to school affects ... how one carries oneself.
This year marks the 20th annual drive by Community Partners for Children, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children with limited financial resources. Over the years, they've delivered back-to-school supplies to almost 10,000 students who qualify for free/reduced-price meals. As Community Partners for Children President Pat Miller points out, these are supplies that "many take for granted.”