Even old pros get first-day jitters when it’s time to go back to school. But imagine having to start school knowing you don’t have the basic supplies you need to be successful. This summer, several local non-profit organizations are joining together to make sure that doesn’t happen to Alameda students.
The (AEF), the (AUSD), the (APC), the (Alameda BGC) and the Alameda Collaborative for Children, Youth and Families (ACCYF) are pleased to announce “Equipped for Success” — a community-wide drive to collect school supplies for Alameda’s low-income students.
Donation bins are located at several Alameda businesses and agencies, including the , , (main lobby), (Otis Street branch), , (South Shore Center), (Harbor Bay Landing), , , (South Shore Center) and .
Needed supplies (new, please) include backpacks, crayons, pencils and pens, spiral notebooks and binders, binder paper and binder tabs.
You'll find a link to the complete list of donation sites and needed supplies at alamedaeducationfoundation.org/ways-to-give/school-supply-drive.
“Our goal is to ensure that all students begin the first day of class in 2012 with the supplies they need to be successful in the classroom,” said Bill Sonneman, president of AEF.
Supplies will be distributed to low-income students served by the AUSD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Program (homeless is defined as individuals who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence), APC (serving formerly homeless families) and the Alameda Boys & Girls Club. The group has established a goal of 800 filled backpacks.
“All of these organizations working together enables us to broaden the scope and effectiveness of this effort and help ensure all students have the supplies they need on the first day of school,” said Doug Biggs, Executive Director of APC.
State budget cuts to schools mean longer lists of items families must supply and many just plain can’t afford it. Research shows that families spend an average of $89 per student per year on supplies, and that doesn’t include more expensive but ever more necessary items like advanced math calculators.
"The number of students who need help grows every year," says Vickie Smith, AUSD district services coordinator for the McKinney-Vento Homeless Program.
But the group is sure that Alamedans will pitch in.
“The Alameda community has a tradition of coming together to help those in need,” said George Phillips, executive director of the Alameda Boys & Girls Club. “We are confident that community members will help its most deserving and vulnerable citizens — its youth.”
“Equipped for Success” will officially kick off on July 4 at the Summer Beats Concert Series hosted by . Donations may be dropped off during any of the South Shore concerts, which are free. Future Summer Beats concerts are on Saturdays: July 7, July 21, Aug. 4, Aug. 18 and Sept. 1. All concerts are from 5 to 7 p.m. in the South Shore Center Court (near the frog fountain). South Shore Center will also raise funds for the drive and provide storage and sorting space.
Many other businesses will serve as drop-off locations as well.
“Already, we are seeing an enormous response to this need by the local business community, with many approaching us and offering to help,” said Sonneman.
In addition to school supplies, the drive is collecting musical instruments and picture frames. There are many more students than instruments in most Alameda music classrooms.
“We know there are dusty flutes lying around in people’s closets,” said Sonneman. “Why not let those instruments make music again in the hands of a student?”
Frames will be used for student art displays.
“Equipped for Success” also accepts cash donations. Checks may be mailed to AEF at P.O. Box 1363, Alameda, CA 94501. Make your check out to AEF and designate it for the School Supply Drive.
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