Being prepared for the new school year is a very important part of having a successful start!
With the poverty level being one in 5 children in Monongalia County, that translates to approximately 2700 kids. Our goal is to provide students with everything they need to be prepared for the upcoming school year so they can focus on learning.
We want to diminish the gap of socioeconomic levels for the first day of school. Most students go back to school shopping. They are able to walk into school feeling confident with fresh haircuts, new shoes, a special new outfit, a new backpack and all of their supplies needed. The children that are on the poverty line and below often come with the same clothes and supplies from the previous year and often no supplies or a backpack. The level of confidence in the students is obvious.
We believe that holding this event takes away the stigma and shame of waiting until the first day of school when they have to walk in without their backpack and supplies. They won’t have to feel the embarassment of being sent to the office to get a back pack. Of course this is better than not receiving anything, but if we can take away some of the stigma, then why not?
At the back to school event on August 9, students from all over Monongalia County, can come to North Elementary. They will register and then the fun begins. They will first go to the backpack station to pick out their own backpack. From there, they can choose to get a haircut from one of the 12 beauticians/barbers or they can go down the hall to shop for their school supplies. There will be 6 classrooms full of choices for them. After filling their backpacks, they will sign up for a library card and sign up for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library that will send them a new book with their name on it every month. Next, they can visit the hygiene room to pick out deodorant, shampoo, and more. There will be detergent pods as well as feminine hygiene products. After this, they will visit the Community Caring area to select clothing with dedicated volunteers to help them.
The next stop will be a visit to the Monongalia County Health Department Smile Express bus. Finally, families can go down the buffet line of Fresh Produce provided by th Mountaineer Food Bank.
Education is the key to breaking the vicious cycle of poverty. As a community we must do all we can to give kids an opportunity to do just that.