The Backpack Project: ready for school, prepared to learn
The Spring Lake Park School District wants all of its students to be ready for school, prepared to learn. The Backpack Project, a school-community partnership now in its fifth year, is helping to make this a reality.
In July, the Spring Lake Park School District invited families most likely to benefit from the initiative, to reserve a complimentary backpack, filled with many of the appropriate 2012-13 school supplies, for their children.
Hundreds of families took advantage. On August 21 and 23, over 600 backpacks were distributed to grateful parents and excited kids.
The Backpack Project had no lack of eager donors and volunteers. To start the project, the school district identified families and invited their participation, and the district's Community Education department facilitated the project. The community part of the school-community partnership included generous donations and or volunteer hours from Eaglebrook Church, Unity Hospital, Spring Lake Park Lions, the Leo Club which is the student arm of the Lions, and the Panther Foundation.
Happy, prepared for school, ready to learn . . .
Three different custom backpacks were prepared: Elementary, Intermediate, and Middle School/High School. Each was filled by consulting the appropriate supply lists.. Supplies included crayons, markers, notebooks, filler paper, colored pencils, pencils, glue, glue sticks, composition books, index cards, rulers, highlighters, erasers, folders, and a box of tissue.
Colleen Pederson, director of community education for the school district said, "It keeps growing. In our first year, we gave out about 350 backpacks, about 450 the second year, and now over 600. Our goal is that each of our 5,200 students arrive on the first day of school ready to learn, ready to be successful. Hopefully these efforts will help to make this happen."
Much of the assembly work -placing the supplies in the backpacks-was done by members of the Spring Lake Park Lions Club and the Leo Club.
Pete Yelle, Lions Club president, said, "There are so many great things happening in our community, including partnerships with our schools that help a great many people, but the Backpack Project has become one of the most special annual projects.