Every Monday Matters: Create a back-to-school backpack
By Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) Those of you who have been following our weekly column have probably figured out that we feel that it's the smallest of actions that can make the biggest of difference. That people matter, and that ordinary people certainly can do extraordinary good. Every week, we have tried to inspire you, by giving you information and sharing stories about people who are making a difference in the world. But this week the rules have changed. Yes, we are going to share another story, but this week you are in charge of figuring out how you can make a difference.
Today is "YOUR DAY." You get to pick whatever it is you want to do. You know the drill. Find a need - a person, an organization, the environment, a family - and get involved. It's that easy.
The story that follows is one of the many stories we have received and certainly falls under the "YOUR DAY" category. It is a story about
—Children need school supplies to complete schoolwork and homework.
—Required school supplies cost between
—As they grow, children become increasingly sensitive to the evaluations of their peers. A social stigma occurs when children are different; and children are aware that they are different if they don't have new school supplies and the other children do.
—Having school supplies that all the other kid's have impacts a child's self-esteem positively. Self-esteem impacts a child's success in school.
—Children who feel good about themselves and their abilities are much more likely to do well in school...and in life.
TAKE ACTION TODAY
1. Select a family in your neighborhood or workplace who is in financial need and has school-aged children. Or call a local elementary school, soup kitchen, or church to find a family.
2. Get your friends, co-workers, and family members involved so you can buy in bulk. It's more cost-effective, and more kids can benefit.
3. Go to the Web site of the child's school to see if a list of supplies for each grade level is posted. Otherwise just use common sense and buy the basics. And don't be afraid to buy some fun items too.
4. Deliver the backpacks with a smile.
Both a child's performance in school and self-esteem can impact their entire life, as well as the community in which they grow up. Help make going back to school a positive experience by purchasing and stocking a backpack for a child. Not only are you eliminating a challenge for a low-income family, you are enabling a young student to start the school year on a more level playing field.
It's that time of the year...summer vacations are drawing to an end, educators are starting to prepare their classrooms, and kids are going shopping for their first-day-of-school outfits and school supplies. Well, at least a portion of the kids are able to buy a new outfit and school supplies. Unfortunately, nearly 40 percent of them are not buying anything. And, though this might seem trivial to many, it is not to these children … not at all. And, fortunately for hundreds of elementary school students in
"At first I was astonished that kids could come to school without pencils, pens, notepads, or even backpacks," admitted Pammy. "As a parent myself, I just couldn't understand how their parents could send their kids off to jump on the school bus knowing that they were not prepared for learning."
Pammy grew up in a middle-to-upper class neighborhood in
"Besides being shocked, it also made me grateful," shared Pammy. "I never had to worry about school supplies; and buying my back-to-school outfit was something we did every year of my life. It was so much fun. But my students don't have that option."
Inspired by her gratitude, Pammy decided to do something about it. She pulled together a group of friends and asked if they would make a donation toward her goal of making sure all of her students were prepared on the first day of school.
"It's something I started 4 years ago, but I wish I had done it from year one," said Patty. "The first year I did it, my friends and family donated over
Pammy allowed each student to select one item that they needed. Once everyone picked their first item, she then repeated the process until every student got five items.
"It was a special day and a really gratifying way to start the year off," smile Pammy.
Now in the fourth year of this program, Pammy recently raised
"I never realized how much of an impact this was going to have on my students," said Pammy. "I was just trying to help in any way I could. It's pretty great and my kids are always excited about starting the new school year because they know how much we support them." Kids matter!
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