News / USA

School Drive Equips Students to Learn

Supply Drive Equips Low-income Kids for Schooli
X
September 04, 2013 1:47 PM
Buying new school supplies is usually an exciting experience for students, but it could be a nightmare for low-income parents, who might not be able to afford everything their children need. A group of local nonprofits in Virginia is coordinating efforts to assist these parents with a county-wide back to school drive. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.

Supply Drive Equips Low-income Kids for School

Faiza Elmasry
In a makeshift distribution center at a middle school in Reston, Virginia, dozens of volunteers are hard at work organizing school supplies.

“[We’re] organizing and stocking boxes based on what supplies each school needs," said Natalie Toma, 17. "Then the schools come and get all the supplies."

Volunteering with “Collect for Kids,” a county-wide back-to-school drive, has made Toma more aware of poverty in one of the wealthiest areas around the nation’s capital.

“Personally I didn’t realize how many people are actually in need of school supplies that can’t afford it,” she said.

But Susan Ungrer realized the scope of the problem many years ago. The former elementary school teacher started to collect and distribute free school supplies out of her garage before founding her own nonprofit, Kids R First, 18 years ago.

“We reached a limit with our organization at this point with a certain number of board members, certain amount of money we were able to raise, and we reached to certain locations around Fairfax County,” Ungrer said.

That’s when she came up with the idea to combine forces with other groups and launch one big drive that would help more students.

Jay Garant, of the Fairfax County school system, said the county’s role is to help coordinate the effort.

“We have about 11 not for profits and maybe five or six for-profit companies involved," he said. "The goal here is let them keep their passion and do the same things the way they have done it, but let’s be more efficient in breaking down redundancy and pay more attention to who is covering what. It’s all about communication.”

Communication among the participants increases the project’s impact. Jennifer Rose said an exchange of ideas led her non-profit, Our Daily Bread, to ask donors for cash rather than supplies.

“Quite frankly donors today are very busy," said Rose. "They don’t have time to go shopping. So we’re able to stretch their donation dollars far better than they could by taking advantage of sales.”

This year, Collect for Kids helped 19,500 students at 90 schools. And it’s not a one size fits all campaign. Ungerer said each school receives exactly what its students need.

“In the spring of every year, we send out an order form and each school that is part of our program sends in a custom order," she said. "So it’s all grade appropriate.”

Langston Hughes Middle School Principal Aimee Monticchio said Collect for Kids is important to her families.

“Between our 7th and 8th grade," she said, "we give out over 200 backpacks a year.”

Forty percent of the students at Terraset Elementary use the supplies. The impact of having new school supplies can be both academic and psychological.

“It makes a huge difference in what children, and how children, are able to learn, when they come in and have what they need in good condition," she said. "And they’re able to walk in proudly on the first day of school instead of walking ashamed that they don’t have what they need.”

Parents are relieved to know that they can come to the school and pick up backpacks full of the required supplies.

"As a parent, I think it's amazing,” Ivonee Cedeno said. “It's very helpful to a lot of children. They are excited, can't wait to go back to school. They got the new supplies and they are ready."

Knowing that an estimated 47,000 Fairfax County students need the help is what motivates Collect for Kids to continue reaching out every year.

You May Like

Photogallery US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid