This is my third year of acting as the "backpack angel" for a group of deserving kids enrolled in homework clubs in 5 low-income housing complexes, managed by an amazing nonprofit: Bienestar.
The homework clubs have been expanding and growing, funded by grants to Bienestar based on the success of the program in proving that children in the homework club have increased GPA's throughout the school year. Children are our future - we need to invest in them. The smarter the children are, the better our future will be.
Let's look at the numbers for a second:
With the help of a handful of local businesses and a group of people I am amazed to have as my friends - we provided a backpack with supplies for 150 children!! All of this was done in a three week period, based out of my living room, with no publicity other than my own personal begging for supplies via this blog and facebook. Amazing, no?
The Executive Director of Bienestar was on hand to welcome the volunteers that gathered last Saturday to stuff the backpacks and she referred to me as their Angel multiple times. But really - I'm not an angel. I just send out emails and let things gather in my personal space. The real angels are those who dig deep in their pockets to donate $10 of supplies when they are themselves on a tight budget. Or the people who organized a supply drive through their company and gathered hundreds of dollars of supplies. Or the ones who gave up a beautiful Saturday morning in late summer to help prepare the backpacks to be distributed to the kids.
THOSE are the angels. The power of grassroots efforts is amazing.
If you think you can't do this - you are wrong. Anyone can organize something wonderful to help make a difference in their community. It doesn't have to involve your own pocketbook and it doesn't even have to take up a lot of time- just coordinate it to help others give. Anything is possible if we all work together!
Pictures from the event:
|Unloading, unloading and more unloading of supplies.|
|And more unloading.|
|The amount of school supplies needed for 150 kids is pretty amazing.|
|The kids were bedazzled by the number of backpacks.|
|Sorting, sorting, sorting supplies.|
|And sorting of backpacks. We have the kids sort by grade level.|
|We tag the bags with grade level, as each grade level gets some unique supplies.|
|And then we stuff. And we stuff. And we stuff some more.|
|Some dedicated volunteers gave up their Saturday morning to help.|
|The first homework club participant to pick out his bag.|
|On to the road of success - new bag and supplies in hand!|
Thanks to everyone who donated, both time and money. 150 children will go off to school better prepared because of all of us. We truly made a difference.