In August, we asked our community to support two schools that many of our children attend, Hollis Elementary School and Welcome Elementary School. Through staffed social workers, Maria Sallurday with Hollis Elementary and Deb VanderVeer with Welcome Elementary, we were able to come up with an extensive list of back to school needs for their students.
We partnered with Chick-fil-A Cherrydale and Chick-fil-A Haywood Road to collect donations of school supplies that would set these students up for success. With overwhelming support, we were able to collect 30 backpacks, 160 markers, 872 crayons, 192 colored pencils, 102 pens, 635 pencils, 25 highlighters, 50 composition notebooks, 7,265 sheets of paper, 12 boxes of Kleenex, 73 folders, 76 spiral notebooks, 22 binders, 1,200 index cards, 16 scissors, and 102 glue sticks. Now let’s pause and really think about what that list means. That means that each of those students is put on a path more likely for success. They are less likely to fall behind on assignments because they are missing materials and more likely to finish the school year ready to move to the next grade. Their parents are less likely to have to stretch their paychecks to pay for school supplies and more likely to pay their utility bills on time.
Our community made this happen. They recognized the need and filled our collection boxes with fully stocked backpacks that we dropped off at the schools with Maria and Deb. They also filled our school supply budget with monetary donations. Because we had such an immense response to in-kind donations, we were able to set aside these donations to purchase hand sanitizer and Kleenexes to be distributed to each classroom in the coming weeks during cold and flu season. Staying healthy is vitally important to their school performance as missing just 18 days of school has been proven to negatively affect school performance. Many of the students at Hollis and Welcome experience high levels of poverty, making them four times more likely to be chronically absent for reasons beyond their control related to unstable housing, unreliable transportation and a lack of access to health care. By providing our families with stable housing and making small steps in keeping our children healthy, we are fighting to keep them in school and on a path for success.
We could not support our families without the support we have found in our communities. By assisting in small ways in their education, we are able to ease financial pressures at home and show our children that their success is meaningful and recognized. This recognition has a lasting impact and we thank you for supporting us in making it possible.
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