It takes a village to prepare the children of our community for school
Remember the excitement of heading back to school? Summer, at last, had grown boring. The novelty had worn off the neighborhood swimming pool. By the time August rolled around, most of us were ready to get back into the routine school provides.
Picking out new notebooks for the upcoming school year was a joyous rite of passage. (If you’re a certain age, you’ll remember the must-have Trapper Keeper.)
But there are many families among us for whom back-to-school shopping isn’t a ritual. School immunizations aren’t as easy as scheduling an appointment with our familiar and much-loved pediatrician.
For those families, CFSC agencies, including the HopeWorks agencies, are back-to-school angels. Here’s a look at some of the ways our steadfast team is helping ensure every child in our community starts school ready to learn.
A couple of organizations helped ensure the kids in our community didn’t suffer “brain drain” during the summer.
- Every child needs summer enrichment. And Community School of the Arts (CSA), a HopeWorks tenant and Shared Services agency, has welcomed more than 300 students during 16 different camp sessions this summer. At camps, students have played with renowned band, jazz and orchestra teachers from the region, created impressive collaborative art projects, learned the parts of a violin and visited Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. CSA has also partnered with Freedom Schools, Arts & Science Council and First Baptist Church-West to provide summer arts programming for underserved children.
- Building Educated Leaders for Life (BELL), a non-partner tenant, has offered extended summer learning programs to nearly 3,500 scholars in grades K-8 in 20 CMS schools this summer. “Every scholar will be taking new books home for their personal home library,” said Jerri Haigler, executive director for the Carolinas. “In addition, some sites (based on partnerships) will be taking home school supplies and other materials to get ready for school.” Last summer, BELL of the Carolinas served more than 4,700 scholars in five school districts in North and South Carolina.
Other organizations are more focused on August and September:
- Communities In Schools (CIS), a partner tenant, is again partnering with WSOC for the Family Focus School Tools campaign. The campaign, a collaboration involving WSOC-TV, Communities In Schools and Classroom Central, kicks off on August 10 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Covering 22 counties, School Tools is the largest school supply drive in the Carolinas and has served more than 3 million children since 1997.
Supplies collected in each county, including Mecklenburg, stay in that county and are distributed to students in need when school starts.
Join us at noon on Aug. 10 at NASCAR Hall of Fame. Please bring supplies to donate, or drop off supplies at multiple collection barrels in and around Charlotte.
On August 20, you can leave a bag of supplies by your mailbox and your postal carrier will pick it up! Visit www.9schooltools.com for more info and to see a map of all collection sites.
In addition, they’re working behind-the-scenes with CMS administrators and other referral sources to build caseloads and assess student needs and address attendance, behavior and academic challenges.
CIS is collaborating with CFSC and other community partners to offer CIS case-managed students access to critical needs, health screenings/physicals (dental and medical), enrichment and experiential learning opportunities, and more, according to Gina Salvati, vice president of advancement for CIS.
- NC MedAssist, a HopeWorks tenant and Shared Services agency, is hosting a “Healthy Start, Back to School” Over-the-Counter Medicine Giveaway on Friday, Aug. 19 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church at 3400 Beatties Ford Rd. Families can pick up cough and cold medicine, allergy medicine, vitamins, first aid and more. Adult items will also be available. Every family will leave with around $100 worth of OTC items. As Kristin Young, foundations and communications director, said, “NC MedAssist is helping fill medicine cabinets for a healthy start to the school year.”
- Safe Alliance, a partner tenant, is planning a Back-to-School Cookout for clients in the Domestic Violence Shelter. “We’re working with a local business sponsor to supply all the materials and volunteer support,” said Mike Blackwelder, chief advancement officer. “In addition to hamburgers and hotdogs, we’re planning fun and games for clients to enjoy. Each child at the Shelter will also receive a backpack full of supplies so that they are ready to start the year off with everything they need.”
- Partner tenant Care Ring’s Low-Cost Clinic is providing back-to-school physicals for preschool through high-school students. The typical clinic visit is $60. However, “Sunshine Funds” to defray the cost of the clinic visit for families needing financial support are available. The clinic operates on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Elevation Church donated 140 backpacks stuffed full of school supplies to partner tenant Community Link. These are being distributed to children in Community Link’s Homeless to Housing program.
- Supportive Housing Communities, a non-partner tenant, held their second annual Back-to-School Event on Friday, Aug. 5 at McCreesh Place. It included a cookout provided by Myers Park Baptist Church and an ice cream bar provided by the #DonateYourself team. There were backpacks for each school-age child filled with school supplies provided by Girl Scouts Troop 1066, Akuma America Corporation, Elevation Church and #DonateYourself.
The Girl Scouts provided games for the kids. Wells Fargo and American Airlines sent volunteers to help serve.
Every child deserves to feel excitement about the start of school – and to be 100 percent ready to learn. CFSC agencies are helping ensure that happens.