Paper, pencils, scissors, and glue sticks seem like a modest expense. But for children whose parents might barely afford rent and food, new school supplies are a luxury. Many students in struggling communities also could benefit from the one-on-one attention of a tutor.
Through our Teacher Resource Center, we provide new school supplies to educators teaching in low-income neighborhoods where at least 70 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches. Eligible teachers may "shop" for free supplies.
In a related program, SchoolTools, we provide backpacks stuffed with school supplies to children living in low-income families. Businesses, schools, and other organizations volunteer to fill the backpacks with donated supplies.
Through KidREACH,™ our academic mentoring program for students in grades K-5, we equip and train volunteers from churches and community organizations to tutor struggling students from low-income families. KidREACH—the name partly stands for Relating, Educating, And Communicating Hope—especially benefits children and youth who demonstrate early warning signs that may lead them to drop out of school.
Providing schools with the tools to succeed
Several years ago, classrooms at St. Mary's School in Los Angeles lacked whiteboards and cupboards. Many students—more than 90 percent of whom qualified for free or reduced-price lunch—didn't have school supplies.
Supplies cost "maybe $80 to $100 per child, and when you have three, it adds up," said Annette, a guardian for three students.