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

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party 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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs